“Companies across all industries and sectors have been affected to some extent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many were deemed “non-essential” in the United States (U.S.) by state and federal governments, resulting in employers halting operations and closing workplaces. The reopening of office workplaces should be conducted in a thorough manner accounting for several factors before employees are allowed to return. Employers in office settings should not only address preparing the workplace for operations to occur during a pandemic (e.g., enhanced disinfection measures), but also the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) of the workspace. For such businesses with indoor workplaces, IEQ is a concern for buildings that have been unoccupied and/or dormant for extended periods. Employers should also consider the comfort of employees as they return to work because they may be in a heightened state of concern. Putting in place thoughtful measures to ensure employees are well-positioned to transition back to work with minimal disruption is important.
With restrictions beginning to lift, employers are challenged with difficult questions pertaining to preparing the office to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission during operations and addressing IEQ concerns before reopening.”