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Restoring office operations - Helmsman

Restoring office operations

Our planning guide can be helpful as you look to reopen or expand operations. Remember to always adhere to federal, state, and local requirements, CDC guidelines, and recommendations of in-house counsel.

Due to the rapidly evolving nature of exposure, we recommend that your organization appoints a manager to coordinate efforts for COVID-19 response.


Reopening considerations


  • Stagger the return of your associates to the office in phases rather than all at once.
  • Stagger/rotate office start times and schedules. Continue remote work where possible.
  • Follow CDC and state/local health department guidelines for cleaning, disinfecting, and maintaining physical distance.
  • Follow CDC guidance to educate the workforce on staying healthy and symptoms that would warrant that they don’t go into the office.
  • Post signs notifying customers not to enter if they feel sick.
  • Increase availability of hand sanitizer and wipes for customer use.
  • When re-opening buildings, work with maintenance to assess the HVAC system, change air filters, and if possible, increase the air exchange.
  • Clean common-use spaces frequently, and thoroughly clean office spaces nightly.
  • Consider limiting visitors to your office/location to essential-only or require that visitors make an appointment.
  • Analyze and modify floorplans, furniture, workstations, and lobby seating for proper physical distancing.
  • Increase cleaning and disinfecting for amenities that are high-contact, such as coffee makers, refrigerators, microwaves, vending machines, elevator buttons, etc.
  • Restrict or modify policies and procedures for live meetings and use of conference rooms.
  • Close off water fountains and encourage bottled water use.

Employee safety

  • Equip staff with proper personal protective equipment (PPE) based on job tasks and follow state and local public health recommendations regarding the use of face coverings.
  • Ensure staff is properly trained on changes for cleaning protocols.
  • Post reminder signage in employee areas for proper hygienic practices, including hand washing.
  • Allow voluntary work from home.
  • Implement social distancing in break rooms, conference rooms, and other gathering places.
  • Reconfigure workstations so employees do not face each other. Utilize partitions for separation.
  • Discontinue open food sharing (pizza, donuts, candy, cookies, etc.), including food brought from home to share.
  • Educate staff and provide relevant resources and guidance.
  • Analyze, restrict, and modify employee business travel, especially air travel.


It is important to communicate to employees about the steps you are taking to help keep them safe, and acknowledge the importance of the work they are doing.

Capture and document your programs and efforts to keep everyone safe for future reference.

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Your safety and well-being are our primary concern. These suggestions are general in nature, so please ensure that any activities you contemplate comply with all federal, state, and local COVID-19 orders impacting your facilities or operations as well as CDC guidelines for social distancing, hygiene, and other recommended best practices.

Our risk control services are advisory only. We assume no responsibility for: managing or controlling customer safety activities, implementing any recommended corrective measures, or identifying all potential hazards. No attempt has been made to interpret any referenced codes, standards, or regulations. Please refer to the appropriate government authority for interpretation or clarification.