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Practical tips to entice employees back into the office and keep them safe

With the easing of Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in most part of Malaysia, almost all sectors have been permitted to resume their business operations. However, getting employees back into the office is still a challenge for many employers.

Bringing back employees on a rotation system in order to reduce number of people in the workplace at one time, is proving popular with many businesses. Some businesses decided to take out desks in order to create space, remove hotdesks and prepare sanitiser stations to give staff a sense of security.

The real conundrum in getting employees back to office is how to address the anxieties of employees and give them the confidence that coming back to work will be safe. It is important to make immediate changes to entice people back to work at offices, and gently easing employees into a new way of working.

Some practical tips that businesses can use right now to be safe, and encourage workers back into the office:

Install new building signage

  • Floor markings, social distancing signs and posters about washing hands can all give employees a sense of reassurance that something has changed.

Install hygiene screens

  • By creating a barrier between workstations, designed to catch germs and prevent them from spreading, employees can return to work with greater confidence.

Relook into space plans to reduce hotdesking and increase fixed positions

  • Despite spending the past many years persuading employees to embrace hotdesking, many companies are having to backtrack. Employees will not want to sit at a desk that has been used by other people during the day.

Reduce the canteen and welfare facilities where crowding could take place 

  • Bowls of fruit in communal areas and staff buffets are going to have to go. Anywhere where there could be a high volume of people in one place is going to make employees fearful.

Encourage people to use stairs rather than lifts and escalators

  • These are areas where overcrowding could occur. Limit the number of people in a lift at one time, and encourage staff to leave the lifts for those who really need them.

Introduce hand sanitiser stations

  • These should be installed not only in foyers and entrance halls but across the office.

Increase the cleaning regime

  • Cleaning regimes will have to change to suit the new normal. Big organisations may well go back to having cleaners working throughout the day. Smaller businesses will need well organised duty rosters, with visible tick charts in place to prove that areas have been cleaned. This can also increase confidence for employees.

Reduce the amount of furniture on site to cut down footfall

  • By removing some furniture and creating space, social distancing becomes more feasible. Employees know they can stay safe due to more space for social distancing.


Appoint the right person to take charge of ensuring office is clean and safe, and they are properly trained. This may be the Facility Director, Head of Facility Management, Office Manager and etc. They should work together with HR and Compliance to ensure communication of safety rules is strong and all rules are adhered to.

Find out more about reconfiguration of office space under the new normal and keep all employees safe:

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