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Your Checklist for Returning to the Office

Your Checklist for Reopening the Office

As countries, states, and cities begin to lift restrictions, and businesses slowly open their doors, the time to plan for what will be the ‘new normal’ in the office is now. This checklist can be used to jumpstart your plans to reopen and help you prepare to return to the office.



You and your employees should not expect the office to be the same as before. The new normal is, and will be, different for the foreseeable future.

Create a “Return to the Office” taskforce.

Depending on the size of your organization, consider appointing someone, or an entire team, to lead the efforts of assessing and optimizing the office for return.


Over-communicate to your staff.

Make sure they understand the precautions you have taken, and assure them they can return to the office safely.


Create a “Return to the Office” schedule.

Your goal is to manage how many people are simultaneously in the office. Consider developing a schedule based on employees’ needs, abilities, and desire to be in the office.


Establish an ongoing “Work From Home” policy.

This will help to ensure your office isn’t overly crowded and will help employees who still need to be at home feel comfortable doing so.

Review and update your policies.

Look at sick leave, vacation time, travel policies, etc., and determine if you should make any changes or updates based on the COVID-19 global crisis.

Encourage good hygiene practices in the office.

Practices include frequent hand washing, use of hand sanitizers, eliminating high-touch areas, and wiping down work spaces.

Remind employees to stay home if they feel ill.

Make sure to stress that if they, or someone they have come in contact with, exhibits any known COVID-19 symptoms they should not come to the office.


Check with officials about screening guidelines.

Reach out to your legal advisor and local health authorities for guidance before deploying any health screening procedures, such as temperature checks, etc.


Establish an open line of communication with staff.

Create a cadenced stream of communication with your employees and ensure they understand the channels available to them should they have questions or concerns.


Office Space

While the office may be open, practicing safe, social distancing will still be of utmost importance. Your goal is to create an office environment that is safe for all employees.

Perform a deep cleaning before the office reopens.

Make sure you communicate to your employees the steps you have taken to ensure their safety.

Ensure all office tenants are following protocol.

Ensure all office building tenants are practicing social distancing. Post any building management or health official notices in visible locations throughout the space.

Update seating arrangements and floor plans.

Ensure office seating supports social distancing guidelines, and schedule employees to be in the office accordingly.

Be prepared to enable proper hygiene practices.

Equip your office with enough hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, etc. so your employees can be as comfortable in the office as possible.

Develop traffic flow patterns in your office.

Consider setting up traffic flow patterns in your office to ensure employees don’t accidentally bump into others and to enable proper social distancing.

Establish guidelines for conducting group meetings.

This will be especially important if you will be meeting in any conference rooms. Make sure your employees understand these guidelines and are comfortable with them.

Establish guidelines for visitors to the office.

Post the guidelines to ensure your visitors understand and comply. Don’t forget to communicate the guidelines to your employees.

Remind employees of social distancing guidelines.

Place posters throughout your office to remind your employees to be diligent with their social distancing.

Communicate steps you have taken to ensure safety.

Keeping your employees informed will be absolutely critical to everyone’s health and safety.

Create a reclosure plan.

Ensure you have a plan in place in the event an employee in the office shows symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, or if officials close non-essential businesses again.


Your technology goal is to examine the current state of technology and make tweaks to ensure your employees have what they need to do their jobs effectively.

Evaluate technology deployed during the crisis.

Look at all technology deployed and determine what worked and what fell short. Examples may include new Office 365 licenses, Zoom, new laptops, etc.

Examine key vendors used to run your business.

Identify any vendor that was not able to hit their SLAs, and determine the cause. Pay close attention to critical vendors and how they performed during the crisis.

Audit all tech being used by remote workers.

Determine if the tech is appropriate, secure, and is sufficient to enable optimal productivity.

Run an audit on any workstations in the office.

This will help you determine if the workstations are properly patched with the latest OS and other critical updates. Leverage your RMM tool to deliver the proper patches.

Take a closer look at the use of personal computers.

Document employees who used their own PCs to work rrom home and develop a plan to ensure the ongoing use of personal devices complies with your security standards.

Catalog items that were removed from the office.

Protect your business and intellectual property by ensuring any devices, technology, files, contracts, customer lists, etc. are returned to the office.

Conduct a gap analysis.

Document the technology gaps that were exposed during the crisis and create a plan to address them.

Review your Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plans.

What worked well? What could be improved? Were you able to easily transition from the office to working from home? Think through these questions as you update your plan.

Plan regular Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity testing.

This should be a routine part of your business. But given this recent crisis, regular Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity testing will be even more crucial moving forward.

Source:  Datto
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