Return to Workplace -The pandemic has revolutionized the meaning of the workplace and expedited an already growing need for remote work. Leading-edge Microsoft technologies are enabling organizations to champion remote working, enhance productivity, strengthen virtual teamwork, and embrace remote collaboration. However, with the COVID-19 case numbers across the U.S. flattening, many organizations are planning to operate from office at least part of the week. But, the Omicron variant still remains at large posing a unique set of challenges for the organizations.
Microsoft’s Return to Workplace solutions can help organizations reboot their physical office operations with confidence. It can mitigate some of the major reopening challenges. With this Power Platform-based solution organizations can actively monitor and continuously ensure the safety of their employees. The features of Microsoft’s Return to Workplace solution enable organizations to maintain a safe office, ensure workplace compliance and remain agile to the COVID-19 scenario.
Towards this, our blog highlights four essential things organizations must keep in mind while planning a return to a safe workplace.
1: Assess Workplace Readiness
The organization’s management needs to determine the overall readiness by:
- Tracking the government guidelines and restrictions in the area and identify tentative return dates.
- Assessing the workplace and identify how to meet social distancing requirements. Also, recalibrate the seating capacity based on the social distancing norms.
- Ensuring the availability of adequate COVID-19 protection supplies and resources at the workplace.
- Implementing a phased return to work, wherein a limited percentage of employees (required for critical task completion) will come to the workplace in rotation and ensure proper workplace utilization.
Microsoft’s Return to Workplace solution includes a powerful module – Location Readiness. The module enables leaders to monitor key metrics, determine the readiness of their facility/s, and efficiently manage their safe reopening by making informed decisions. It facilitates the reviewing of important COVID-19 statistics such as the phase your facilities are in, the number of new cases, new fatal cases, and safety supply availability.
2: Stay Proactive about Employees’ Well-being
Organizations must remain vigilant and nimble to ensure the wellbeing of their employees, especially in times when the Omicron variant is still around. To ensure the good health of all employees and meet workplace compliance requirements, organizations should keep track of total cases around their office facility. Management must monitor the following statistics daily:
- The total number of active cases in the locality.
- The number of days since a new case hasn’t been reported in the areas.
- Average case risk associated with a facility or group of facilities.
- The average number of days needed to resolve cases.
- The average number of active cases (in open, investigating, and monitoring phases) per case manager.
The Workplace Care Management Dashboard of Microsoft’s Return to Workplace solution provides the organization leaders with tools to actively manage COVID-19 cases, identify hot spots for safety improvement, and import data from third-party systems to determine exposure. Leveraging this Power BI dashboard, facility managers can effectively manage and track employee cases across their network of locations and plan the workplace re-opening better.
3: Manage Better and Build Employee Confidence
Regular readiness assessments and proper execution of an organization’s reopening plan gives employees a sense of safety and confidence to work from the office. Here are a few things to do to build that confidence among employees:
- Enable employees to do self-screening. Get vaccination attestations and approve or disapprove their entry at the workplace according to the organization’s rules.
- Share complete safety guidelines and instructions with employees.
- Allow the staff to declare work location or enter the workplace with a day pass.
- Enable them to book their seating space in advance.
- Keep track of general employee well-being.
- Give employees identity and security logins using Azure Active Directory.
Solutions like the Facility Safety Management app and Employee Return to the Workplace app enable the facility managers to manage return to the workplace better. The Facility Safety Management app delivers facility managers with all tools they need to efficiently manage the reopening of facilities. While the Employee Return to the Workplace provides the employees with certain self-service tools needed to confidently return back to the workplace and remain productive when onsite. The app can be leveraged to check in remotely and self-screen before entering the office.
4: Recalibrate the Workplace
The Pandemic has created a world where social distancing is mandatory. This has diminished the seating capacity of workplaces. As a result, the facility managers and leaders have to constantly monitor and manage employee occupancy. Additionally, test and vaccine attestations have also become essential for workplace safety. Other essentials for a safe return to the physical office include:
- Efficiently record and manage employee test data.
- Perform steps to ensure employee checks and screenings are done in accordance with company policy.
- Keep the employees informed about the SOP and share accurate guidelines.
- Monitor the employee’s health regularly and know when and how they will be eligible to come back to the workplace.
- Mark the cases resolved after receiving proper vaccination attestation or adverse reports from the employee.
The Location Management module of Microsoft’s Return to Workplace solution helps manage all the above-mentioned workplace safety essentials. The Location Management app helps keep the facility safe with a comprehensive reporting system that monitors and controls the total occupancy of a particular floor or area. It helps set up vaccination attestation, testing attestation, and periodic testing policies.
Reopen with Confidence
The extended time away from the office and changes to the layout of the workplace mean that it will take time for employees to readjust to being back in a physical workplace.
– PwC US Pulse Survey
According to a recent McKinsey study, most employees expect to continue working remotely even after the pandemic has passed. For some employees it is the convenience of working from their home, for others, it is the fear of contamination in a physical workplace. Whatever may be the reason, organizations face an uphill task to bring back their employees to the workplace. Microsoft’s Return to Workplace helps you confidently transition and win back the confidence of employees. It helps the organizations balance employee wellbeing, optimum productivity, and workplace compliance facets.
As a Microsoft Gold and Power Platform Partner, AgreeYa can help you implement, customize, and deploy the return-to-the-workplace solution rapidly. Additionally, AgreeYa’s Vaccine Tracker app simplifies Vaccine Management for organizations and helps them maintain a safe workplace. Get help from our experts to meet your business- and industry-specific needs.