Chicago (The Loop)
Chicago (West Loop)
Chicago (Wacker)
Houston (Theater District)
Houston (Scanlan Building)
Dallas (Katy Building)
Charlotte (Uptown)
Jacksonville (Groover-Stewart Building)
Seattle (Pioneer Building)
Alexandria (Old Town)
Indianapolis (Circle Tower)
Pittsburgh (Golden Triangle)
San Diego (Gaslamp)
Denver (16th Street)
Chicago (River North)
Kansas City (Kessler Building)
Richmond (Shockoe Slip)
Nashville (5th Avenue)
Minneapolis (Lasalle Building)
Boulder (15th and Canyon)
Cincinnati (Hooper Building)
Savannah (Johnson Square)
Phoenix (Midtown)
Chicago (Superior)
Minneapolis (TriTech Center)
Madison (The Capitol)
Orlando (Angebilt Building)
Denver (Trinity Place)
Milwaukee (Cathedral Square)
San Jose (North First)
Washington, D.C. (Dupont Circle)
Phoenix (Heard Building)
Norfolk (City Center)
Miami (Biscayne)
Columbia (Main Street)
St. Petersburg (4th Street DTSP)
Austin (North Austin)
Houston (Upper Kirby/Greenway)
Albany (State Street)
America Chicago
America Adak
America Anchorage
America Anguilla
America Antigua
America Araguaina
America Argentina - Buenos Aires
America Argentina - Catamarca
America Argentina - Cordoba
America Argentina - Jujuy
America Argentina - La Rioja
America Argentina - Mendoza
America Argentina - Rio Gallegos
America Argentina - Salta
America Argentina - San Juan
America Argentina - San Luis
America Argentina - Tucuman
America Argentina - Ushuaia
America Aruba
America Asuncion
America Atikokan
America Bahia
America Bahia Banderas
America Barbados
America Belem
America Belize
America Blanc-Sablon
America Boa Vista
America Bogota
America Boise
America Cambridge Bay
America Campo Grande
America Cancun
America Caracas
America Cayenne
America Cayman
America Chicago
America Chihuahua
America Costa Rica
America Creston
America Cuiaba
America Curacao
America Danmarkshavn
America Dawson
America Dawson Creek
America Denver
America Detroit
America Dominica
America Edmonton
America Eirunepe
America El Salvador
America Fortaleza
America Fort Nelson
America Glace Bay
America Goose Bay
America Grand Turk
America Grenada
America Guadeloupe
America Guatemala
America Guayaquil
America Guyana
America Halifax
America Havana
America Hermosillo
America Indiana - Indianapolis
America Indiana - Knox
America Indiana - Marengo
America Indiana - Petersburg
America Indiana - Tell City
America Indiana - Vevay
America Indiana - Vincennes
America Indiana - Winamac
America Inuvik
America Iqaluit
America Jamaica
America Juneau
America Kentucky - Louisville
America Kentucky - Monticello
America Kralendijk
America La Paz
America Lima
America Los Angeles
America Lower Princes
America Maceio
America Managua
America Manaus
America Marigot
America Martinique
America Matamoros
America Mazatlan
America Menominee
America Merida
America Metlakatla
America Mexico City
America Miquelon
America Moncton
America Monterrey
America Montevideo
America Montserrat
America Nassau
America New York
America Nipigon
America Nome
America Noronha
America North Dakota - Beulah
America North Dakota - Center
America North Dakota - New Salem
America Nuuk
America Ojinaga
America Panama
America Pangnirtung
America Paramaribo
America Phoenix
America Port-au-Prince
America Port of Spain
America Porto Velho
America Puerto Rico
America Punta Arenas
America Rainy River
America Rankin Inlet
America Recife
America Regina
America Resolute
America Rio Branco
America Santarem
America Santiago
America Santo Domingo
America Sao Paulo
America Scoresbysund
America Sitka
America St Barthelemy
America St Johns
America St Kitts
America St Lucia
America St Thomas
America St Vincent
America Swift Current
America Tegucigalpa
America Thule
America Thunder Bay
America Tijuana
America Toronto
America Tortola
America Vancouver
America Whitehorse
America Winnipeg
America Yakutat
America Yellowknife
Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HAST)
Hawaii-Aleutian with Daylight Savings Time (HADT)
Alaska Standard Time (AKST)
Alaska with Daylight Savings Time (AKDT)
Pacific Standard Time (PST)
Pacific with Daylight Savings Time (PDT)
Mountain Standard Time (MST)
Mountain with Daylight Savings Time (MDT)
Central Standard Time (CST)
Central with Daylight Savings Time (CDT)
Eastern Standard Time (EST)
Eastern with Daylight Savings Time (EDT)
Atlantic Standard Time (AST)
Atlantic with Daylight Savings Time (ADT)

As lockdown ends and restrictions lift, businesses around the world are gradually returning to the office. But it won’t be business as usual.

For many businesses and establishments, the new normal involves frequent sanitation and the use of face coverings. How might this affect your own office?

If you and your team feel ready to go back to the office, then be sure to read up on these tips and guidelines beforehand to ensure a smooth and safe transition.


Developing a Health and Safety Plan

Before undertaking any kind of action, it’s always best to devise a clear plan.

One of the first orders of business is to decide the protocol for who should go into the office and who should stay at home. Even if most of your team is ready to return, you should always take into consideration any team members, family, or friends that are at risk, especially the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions. Assess the essential functions of each of your employees as well as their risks to come to a decision about whether they should come in.

You may also want to consider more flexible work hours or arrangements, such as partial remote work during the week. Giving your team an option to work from where they want or when they want can provide some comfort during uncertain times.

Whenever possible, reduce the number of in-person meetings and hold them virtually instead. Whether it’s a check-in with a supervisor or a lead with a new client, it’s just not worth the risk of contamination. Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Skype all offer video conferencing apps that allow you to connect from whatever device you may have.

For total preparedness, we recommend coming up with a process for any hypothetical outcome. For example, in the event someone tests positive for coronavirus, what actions will your business take? It may involve requiring everyone in the office to be tested, preventing the employee from coming into work, and following up with them regularly on their condition.

The more you plan ahead, the more you can be proactive instead of reactive. That not only keeps your team safe but everyone else in the building safe.

Next, we’ll discuss what you should keep in mind once your team is actually back in the office.


Personal Hygiene

Once you’ve completed screening or evaluating employees for potential risks and have decided to move forward with a return, you must next consider the necessary steps and precautions for protecting yourself, your team, and everyone else in the office.

Number one: make sure you disinfect your entire workspace if you haven’t already done so. Place hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes in commonly touched areas (computers, machines, doors). Even as Novel Coworking has increased our sanitation staff and procedures, we highly recommend everyone stays vigilant in cleaning their own spaces.

The second most important guideline is to maintain your distance from others. By now you may have heard that the coronavirus is transmitted via droplets, which means there is a potential for it to be transferred through your clothes or by touch. Maintaining a six feet distance whenever possible limits that risk.


Office Cleaning

Novel Coworking has taken enhanced measures to protect all of our tenants and visitors. Among our new changes include:

  • Making sure all common area surfaces are clean and hygienic
    • Cleaning kitchens, bathrooms, and common area desks and tables with disinfectant daily. Spray Lysol Disinfectant on common area door handles and building entrances/exits
    • Encouraging customers to disinfect personal office surfaces (desks and tables) and objects (telephones and keyboards) daily
  • Promoting regular and thorough hand-washing by employees, contractors, and customers
    • Putting sanitizing hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the center. Refill regularly
    • Displaying posters promoting hand-washing (attached). Deliver posters via app communication weekly
    • Making sure staff, contractors, and customers have access to places where they can wash their hands with soap and water
  • Promoting good respiratory hygiene
    • Displaying posters promoting respiratory hygiene (attached). Deliver posters via app communication weekly
    • Advising employees, contractors, and customers to stay home (or work from home) if they experience COVID-19 symptoms including low-grade fever (99 degrees F)


We also recommend that business owners should do their own part to keep office spaces clean. Schedule a block of time in your calendar to conduct a deep cleaning of the office— wiping down all hard surfaces such as electronics, tables, door handles. For soft or cloth surfaces, spray alcohol-based solution and launder the material if possible.

A few layout changes may also be necessary if your office suite has several people in it. This may involve moving desks to be spaced at least 6 feet apart from each other or installing sneeze guards depending on the nature of work (such as for a beauty salon).


CDC Guidelines

We’ve discussed Novel Coworking’s response so far, but it’s also important to see the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, otherwise known as CDC. The CDC has issued guidelines for various businesses, schools, places of worship, restaurants as well as other worksites. Besides similar cleaning and social distancing practices, they also recommend touchless payment, avoiding sharing items such as menus, using disposable, single-serve condiments, and avoiding food and drinks brought in from the outside.

Each industry has its own unique set of considerations. To find your workplace and its related guidelines, visit the CDC’s page on businesses and workplaces here.

Finally, much consideration should be given to air filtration and airflow within any space. Not only should office spaces be properly ventilated, but also the airflow controlled to prevent lingering toxins or pollutants. Make sure your air conditioner or ventilation system has been recently cleaned or maintained to prevent any potential airborne transmission.


After several months of being forced to work remotely, many of us are ready to get back into the office and collaborate with other entrepreneurs. But we must remember to keep safety top of mind. No matter how important it is to get your business back on track, remember to always keep the health of your team, and those around you, as the utmost business priority.