It’s been 38 days since the Danish Prime Minister urged all private offices to work from home, and like many others, the Good Monday Team quickly relocated to our comfy home offices. For more than four weeks, we gladly exchanged our daily talks by the water cooler with children in desperate need of attention during work hours, or we traded-in a big open spaced office for a small Copenhagen apartment (sometimes even with a new co-working partner who we’d wish we could report to HR for inappropriate comments throughout the day).
But that’s an old story these days, the above mentioned turned into the new normal for both private and public employees all across Denmark, and somewhere along the road we learned to keep a minimum distance to fellow humans in public, washing and sanitizing off at least 5 layers of skin of our hands every day, and that it’s ok to get tipsy on your own - as long as you’re on a zoom-call-fridaybar with your friends or colleagues.
This week the Danish government took the first small steps to re-open our society. On our platform, we’ve seen a large increase in service activity and paused services (Cleaning, Lunch, Office Assistants, etc.) have been set back to normal-mode (a new normal but more on that later) at 65% of the offices of our users. That implies that things are slowly returning to this new normal we’re heading for.
But how should we return to the offices? How do we ensure the safety of our employees and break the chain of infection while working in offices again? At the Good Monday Office we’ve planned this return based on guidelines from WHO and the guidelines of the Danish government. As there are no specific “HEY THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO”-guides to offices, we are now sharing how we’ve done it. So here’s a check-list for you to ensure that your office is ready for the upcoming return of your employees.
CREATE A RETURN TASK FORCE
We started by setting up a team responsible for the return to our office. Our task force consists of representatives from Management, HR, the Employee group and our Work Environment Group.This task force is in charge of all preparation and communication with employees in relation to Covid-19 and guidelines. They are also the ones to reach out to with any safety concerns.
LOWER YOUR NUMBERS
On a regular basis, we’re 32 employees in our Copenhagen office. Since we’ve now been adjusted to working remote, we’ve set up a limit of 10 people at the office at all times. At the end of each day, we announce in Slack if we plan to visit the office the upcoming day. It’s on a first come, first allowed entrance basis, but people will be happy to trade places if needed. We’ll be reviewing this on a month to month basis.
POSTER UP THAT OFFICE
It’s not sexy, we know. But we’ve decided to put posters on our doors and elsewhere around the office to encourage social distancing, hand washing, sneezing in elbow pits and general health codes (you can download these and more here: link)
OFF PEAK COMMUTE
As we have a 50/50 split of employees living in Copenhagen and outside of Copenhagen, we strongly encourage those who can’t bike/walk to work to commute in cars if possible. If not possible, then make sure to commute outside of peak hours to avoid crowds on public transport.
INCREASE YOUR CLEANING FREQUENCY
The Danish Health Authority encourages more frequent cleaning. Most SMB offices have a cleaning frequency of 2-3 times a week. At the GM office we’ve now increased this frequency to 4 times a week, also adding additional surface cleaning of all tables, chairs, door knobs, toilets and other high frequency touch points. We’ve also done a full deep cleaning and disinfection of the entire office prior to our return.
PROMOTE A CHIEF SANITIZING OFFICER
The first one to arrive in our office each morning ALSO takes a turn wiping down all high frequency touch points with disinfection wipes. We take turns as acting Chief Sanitizing Officers. This person will wipe down high frequency touch points around the office three times during the working day as well (we know it’s not part of our job description, but safety is king these days). We do this prior to lunch, after lunch, and again at 14.30.
SCRUB DOWN UPON ENTRY
We have two entryways to our office. We’ve placed a sanitizing station in both places, and it’s compulsory to use the hand sanitizer upon entry each morning. As soon as we enter the office space, it’s straight to the bathroom to wash our hands thoroughly.
OMG it’s crazy how sanitizing is repeated again and again right? After washing hands it’s on to our desks where we sanitize the surface, our phones, keyboards, plus whatever might need a wipe. We have placed disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer on each workstation.
DISTANCE DISTANCE DISTANCE
We strongly encourage 2 meters distance between employees at all times even in meetings. We are lucky to have a roof terrace, and there’s plenty of space out there for meetings with distance. In general, use spaces outside for meetings, lunch and coffee breaks as much as possible - you get to soak up some of those sweet Vitamin D while working and keeping safe at the same time.
RE-EVALUATE YOUR OFFICE LAYOUT
As you see in an example below, we’ve eliminated 50% of workstations. We’ve done this to ensure distance at all times. This also means that all workstations are now communal and not personal (thank god for adjustable desks). But damn, it would really be nice to have those silly American office cubicles at the moment.
THE BUFFET IS DEAD, LONG LIVE WRAPPED LUNCH (FOR NOW AT LEAST)
The Danish Health Authority has advised us to hold back on the buffet, and not for the sake of our bellies. So we’ve switched our lunch deliveries to individual wrapped sandwiches, salads, and plates. Another benefit of this is no lunch line!
LET THE AIR IN (AND OUT)
We open doors / windows multiple times during the day to ventilate or space. This is always good, but now better than ever.
WE LOVE GOOD COMPANY
Usually we love meeting and greeting our customers and partners at our offices whenever possible. However, we’ve decided to only allow Good Monday employees in the office at the moment. We’re really looking forward to seeing other people again though!!
IF IN DOUBT STAY HOME
This should have been basic for everyone in offices even before Covid-19. If you’re feeling just slightly under the weather, STAY AT HOME. For your own and your co-workers safety, this is now more important than ever! We also encourage all of our employees to continue working from home if they don’t feel comfortable coming to the office. If anyone from the household gets sick, we also encourage our employees to work from home.
IT’S OK TO ENCOURAGE YOUR COWORKERS TO SANITIZE
This can be tough for some, but reminding co-workers to follow all of the above rules is a necessity until we’re all fully aboard. Just remember that encouragement is for the great safety of the entire office and the families of your co-workers.
That's all the measures we have taken so far, we will continue to evaluate them weekly based on employee feedback. Now let's get you that check-list!
Checklist for returning
Download a print-out version here with more input (link to download)
- Create a return task force (Reps from Management, Employees and your Work environment Group).
- Define a maximum of employees at the office based on the distance available between your workstations (2 m minimum).
- Office arrival process for employees (where to sanitize, etc.)
- Stay at home guidelines for employees (sickness in household, symptoms, etc.).
- Rules of office engagement (meetings, kitchen, bathrooms, etc.).
- Guidelines for employees (sanitizing during the day, distancing)
- New cleaning program (increase frequency, surfaces, toilettes).
- New workstation layout (at least 2 m between faces, no sitting directly across from each other).
- Clearly mark which workstations to use.
- Order new lunch setup (individually wrapped servings).
- Create new lunch rules (eat by your desk or with 2 m. distance)
- Deep clean your office (a cleaning reset of the entire office).
- Disinfect your entire office (by cleaners).
- Buy hand sanitizer (plenty).
- Buy disinfectant wipes (plenty).
- Setup sanitizing stations around the office (hand sanitizer + disinfectant wipes).
- Place hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes on each workstation.
- Print encouraging posters and put up (link to download)
- Communicate all guidelines and rules on slack / email to all employees.
We hope that we have inspired you and made your transition back to the new normal office life easier.
As always we're here to help out with any services that your office might be in need of when returning to this new normal, powered by awesome local vetted suppliers. Feel free to reach out for a quick chat and see how we can help. LINK.
Stay safe out there!
Team Good Monday