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Returning to the Workplace in NYC

It’s been a long 16 weeks since our rise and grind city was abruptly put on PAUSE and the world watched us from afar as we became the national epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, as we start our second week of Phase 2 and with Phase 3 starting just after the holiday weekend, I am thankful for the abundance of caution our city and state leaders put into place to ensure that New York could thrive once again. 

Although New Yorkers succeeded in ‘bending the curve,’ the crisis is far from over for our nation. So as we start to reopen our doors, I’m looking back on our ‘Returning to the Workplace’ webinar from May 14 and sharing some of our updates for a safe and cautious reopening: 

Timelines

  • Our office reopening is on a 2 week delay after Phase 2 officially allows offices to reopen. This delay has allowed us to learn from other’s reopening as well as use these two weeks, between June 22nd – July 6th, to finalize our office reconfigurations.    

Capacity 

  • Although New York’s guidelines allow us to reopen at 50% capacity, we have decided to reduce this to 30% capacity for at least 3 months and gradually get to 50% by the end of the year.

Office Space

  • We have instituted a “clean desk policy” and reconfigured seating so that employees can maintain a minimum of 6 feet between each other while at their desks. Available workstations have been set up as flexible plug-and-play hotdesks that receive a deep cleaning each night. Communal areas like our kitchen and lounge have also been reconfigured for reduced capacities. 

Employee Wellness

  • To monitor COVID-19 symptoms, we’ll be using One Medical’s daily self-health screening tool. The tool consists of a quick questionnaire via their app. Having employees take their own temperature at home as well as take a few minutes to assess their health helps us minimize the risk of a sick employee commuting to the office. 

As we add the final touches to these and other preparations for our July 6th reopening, we now also look to plan for the future of work. For us, that means a hybrid work model where teams can collaborate in live settings but also work remotely. The global challenge, of course, is figuring out the right balance.  As a company, we are committed to continuing to learn and to keep revising the way we approach our work to ensure the safest balance possible for our teams.

— Sara Martinez-Noriega, Director of HR at Direct Agents
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