If data from the spread of COVID-19 throughout the U.S. has taught us anything in the last few months, it’s that one of the primary ways to slow the virus is for every individual to do their part in taking necessary safety precautions for the greater good.
At SaaS operations management platform BetterCloud, expectations are no different.
Facilities Manager Danica Espiritu is already in talks with various building managers in Atlanta, New York City and San Francisco to ensure all office spaces have necessary air purification systems installed when the team plans to return to work in 2021.
But she’s not expecting all safety precautions to fall solely on the facilities department, or even the shoulders of the company’s business continuity plan team.
“Each team member that reenters the office needs to take accountability for their own hygiene and follow the procedures in place,” Espiritu said.
At BetterCloud, those procedures include, but aren’t limited to, keeping an adequate supply of face masks on deck, as well as wiping down door handles, conference room equipment and desks within shared spaces.
Instituting Sanitation Protocols
BetterCloud is slated to open all three of our offices in February 2021, assuming it is safe to do so by then. As it relates to disinfecting the space, we are looking into several companies that use high-intensity UV-C light to help sanitize surfaces before team members get to work. Our cleaning schedule already includes a day porter service, so we will leverage their help to do extra sanitation and cleaning mid-day. I am working with the building managers to find a solution for air purifiers. Whether that means ionizers in the ductwork or having several mobile air purifiers in the space, we want to make sure we have a healthy airflow.
To comply with general safety, we will maintain an adequate supply of face masks near office entries and install hand sanitizer stations that you use your foot to pump around the office. We will ask that conference room users wipe down their chairs and desk spaces when they leave the area or their work station.
Relying on Automation
To lessen the number of touchpoints, we plan on installing automatic devices in the restrooms for water, soap and paper towels. We will decrease our office snacks for the first few months, while completely getting rid of bulk options in pour containers.
We currently use a facilities management software called OfficeSpace to help us rethink our space’s capacity. The software can compute which desks could be used based on how many employees we want in a room at a time. I haven’t decided whether or not we will be putting up plexiglass at work stations, but I am certainly considering this.
Communicating New Procedures
We want our team members to feel safe and trust the space. A lot of our communication will be through visuals, including signage sharing cleaning schedules and plans, videos on how the office space has been updated and how to navigate around the new floor plan. I’ll be placing distance decals on the floor, coupled with arrows to show ingress and egress plans.
By working together and having transparent conversations, we are appropriately setting expectations.’’
Choosing a Reentry Date
Our first priority is the safety of our employees. We are taking these steps out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our teammates, based on a variety of factors, including publicly available sources, such as the CDC and WHO, along with benchmarking with over 80 separate tech companies like Dropbox, Intercom, Square, Greenhouse, Oscar and TaskRabbit.
With so many unknowns as it relates to ever-shifting protocol and guidelines for each city and state, teamed with the fact that many of our employees have traveled out of state or city, we wanted to choose a date that wouldn’t keep shifting or leave our employees anticipating yet another push back.
Keeping the Team in the Loop
BetterCloud formed a business continuity plan team made up of our legal, IT, finance, HR and facilities team members. Employees from these departments continue to reach out to their networks. The BCP team meets weekly to discuss the current state of affairs and how we should move forward. They have a working list of legal and logistical requirements that are necessary for us to reopen offices.
We keep our team members in the loop of our plans during our all-hands company meetings, which are scheduled every Monday and Thursday. We regularly remind team members to reach out to our security and legal teams for any questions, concerns or inquiries.
By working together and having transparent conversations, we are appropriately setting expectations. We will continue to ask our team members to reach out to the BCP team or to their people team if they have any questions or concerns.