By Megan Wells, Duffin Hash & Coates LLP
It’s hard to believe the summer is winding down. Undoubtedly, this summer felt a bit different. On one hand, I feel fortunate to have this additional time with my child, as I am certain I will never again have the opportunity to spend five months with her without the daily distractions of school and work. On the other hand, practicing law from my dining room, kitchen and family room has left me feeling very disconnected and anxious to return to my practice.
Like many of you, I am trying to navigate this unprecedented time and make the right decisions for my family and business. As you begin to return to the office and reopen your practice, you may be feeling a little anxious about the unknown. The numbers are going up. Are they accurate? Skewed? Where are we and what can we do to safely return to a new reality?
The landscape has changed and we need to make sure we are all doing our part to keep ourselves, our families, our co-workers and our clients safe. There are a few things you can do to prepare to re-open your practice:
- Knowledge is power. Listen to the updates and know what the current rules and guidelines for your area. Are masks required? What is the limit on your meeting size?
- Prepare the workplace. Focus on employee safety. Make sure you have the necessary supplies to keep yourselves and your staff safe. Some of these items are still very difficult to obtain. Lysol spray—forget it! And they are now estimating it will be in short supply for the coming year. But there are other brands out there that are accessible. Make sure you have plenty of cleaning products, hand sanitizers, disposable masks, etc. Start stocking these items for your return.
- Prepare your staff. Communication is key to preparing your staff! Know the comfort level of your staff members. Some might be ready to return to the workplace, but some may not be comfortable doing so just yet due to person risks or concerns. Communicating with staff and making their opinions heard can reduce some of the anxiety in returning to the office. If possible, you may consider providing masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) for your staff to assure them that their safety is your priority.
- Create a social distancing plan. Depending on the size of your office, everyone may not be returning at the same time. Manage the traffic flow in your office. Consider staggered returns to limit the number of individuals in the office daily. Be conscious of the size of the office and number of staff members. If everyone cannot return at the same time and be safely distanced, you need to explore an alternate plan or rethink your layout.
It is important to return to your practice at your own comfort level and to make sure that you are doing all that you can to keep yourself, your family, your staff and your clients safe. We are all learning as we go! Stay safe and healthy!
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