Whether you are looking at a tempered, rotation-based return, a jump back to work starting sometime in 2021, or are slowly bringing a few back at a time, at some point, you’re going to start seeing your office fill up in the coming months. But… before that happens, you need to garner the support of your team and remind them that you care about their safety.

To make this happen, you’re going to have to take steps to keep your workplace clean, sanitized, and socially distanced. Something we’ve discussed a bit over the past few months, ranging from the potential for a remote dress code to the HR policies needed to set up a business for a return, we would today like to offer a few quick tips from Accounting Today on your road back.

Taking the advice of Anthony Harris, M.D., chief innovation officer and medical director of WorkCare, Accounting Today offered the following advice on safely reopening.

1. It Starts with Masks

Possibly the least surprising of the recommendations—masks are a must. You’ve heard the recommendations, and for workers to feel safe, a mask requirement will possibly be a top priority.

“It’s not enough to just wear one — your client has to, too,” said Dr. Harris. “Make sure you’re educating your clients on the importance of masks, and ask them, if you are going to meet with them, if they will be compliant. That education piece might have to happen.”

2. Hand Washing and Hygiene

Another area to reiterate is the importance of proper hand washing and hygiene. Frequency needs to be put at the top of mind, and it will be important to reiterate the importance of maintaining the frequency of hand washing when you’re back in an environment where the sink may not be as close by.

3. Know the Biggest Risk Areas

Office bathrooms are some of the cleanest spots in an office, Harris explained, because it is typical to prioritize bathroom cleaning in an office environment. But consider removing air hand dryers, if you have them, as they can spread aerosolized disease particles.

And if bathrooms tend to be cleaned diligently, the communal coffee pot and water cooler may not be, so removing such community hotspots could impede the opportunity for COVID-19 to spread.

4. Plan for Distance

If you can’t wear a mask, keep your space and vice versa. Plan your office around providing distance for employees, and if possible, keep windows open to promote airflow.

5. Gloves? Not So Necessary

There has been some confusion around whether gloves are helpful in preventing the spread of COVID-19. They have their place, but in a firm office environment, they are not necessary.

“In fact, gloves may impede the opportunity to perform good hand hygiene,” Harris explained. “The type of gloves you wear may prolong the longevity of particles living on the surface. This virus can exist on surfaces for three hours to three days — it’s that persistent — without anything to impede its longevity. Our skin has natural oils, which can impede the virus, and we’re washing them frequently.”

Plan for Reentry: It Has to Happen at Some Point

No matter how long it takes, the return to work has to happen at some point. If you’re looking to plan for a safe and consistent plan for getting back to normal, stay up with all the latest from the Controllers Council.

Additional Return to Work Resources

Is a Work from Home Dress Code on the Horizon?

Solidifying Accounts Payable on the Road to Recovery

Return to Work: Three Attributes to Instill in Employees

Virtual Roundtable: Controlling Employee Expenses with a Small but Mighty TeamWebinar Tuesday, September 28

Join the Controllers Council as Ram Bartov, Corporate Controller of TripActions (formerly Corporate Controller at Snowflake), reveals how small but high-performing finance teams today are embracing automated expense management technology to gain a better line of sight, control, and real-time reporting. Ram will moderate a “virtual roundtable” of Controllers and CFOs to be announced.