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Perks of Telework: Polishing Up Return-to-Work Priorities

May 22, 2020, 10:30 AM

Time for Perks of Telework, our revamped recap of intriguing data, surveys, and trends about how the 21st century workplace is weathering the new coronavirus. Check this space every Friday to keep up with the latest coping with Covid-19 chatter.

Moving Pieces

Now that virus-plagued states have started easing quarantine restrictions on previously shuttered businesses (barber shops, restaurants with outdoor seating, daycare centers), management teams are thinking through everything they need to do to ensure their eventual return goes off without a hitch.

Consulting firm OperationsInc polled over 420 companies about the health and security concerns they’re grappling with ahead of switching the lights back on at HQ.

Two-thirds of the respondents (67%) were eyeing July 1 as a tentative return date, assuming their local government would allow it.

With just weeks to go to transform their respective workplaces into a safe space from the Covid-19 outbreak, employers had plenty on their to-do list.

Eight in 10 (85%) said they’ve already planted hand-sanitizing stations all over the place. Three-quarters of respondents (77%) said they are worried about securing enough cleaning supplies to properly disinfect their facility in a timely fashion.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) are worried about the cost and/or accessibility of providing workers with the proper personal protective equipment to ward off infection.

And while four in 10 (41%) were tinkering with additional cleaning procedures to try and keep communal kitchens open in some capacity, nearly 15% said they’ll be completely shutting down their pantry just to be safe.

Pet Projects

Forget toilet paper.

It’s time to stockpile peanut butter and catnip.

The emergency supplies will come in handy should teleworkers try to leave the house in the coming months and any four-legged friends openly revolt.

California-based pet care provider Fidus posted tips about transitioning pets to a non-quarantine routine for those expecting to be back in the office at some point.

Recommendations include:

  • Resume a regular feeding schedule (No more all-day snacking.);
  • Create some distance by leaving them alone throughout the day. “Go for a walk. Go for a drive,” advisers wrote;
  • Get back to socializing with other animals so they won’t freak out around professional dog walkers; and
  • Engineer some alone time by offering up treat-filled puzzles or engaging activities.

Meanwhile, Team Fidus urged those who’ve adopted fur babies for the first time while on lockdown to take the next step in responsible pet ownership and get help laying down ground rules.

“Invest in a good dog trainer,” advisers wrote. “Most rescued pets come with some kind of less-than-favorable behavior and you’ll want to nip that in the bud especially when you are not home to correct them.”

Let ‘Er Roll

Need help rallying the troops?

Taking down a bloodthirsty goblin king may be just the thing.

As any Gen Xer will tell you, the best team building activity in all of creation is a fireball-filled, trap-laden, double cross (no, triple!)-fueled round of Dungeons & Dragons.

The fantasy role-playing game ticks off all the boxes—Problem solving! Compromise! Strategy!—for getting groups of people to achieve a common goal.

Except instead of puzzling out how to get the Q2 numbers to beat Q1 projections, one might challenge colleagues to rescue an elven mage imprisoned in a flying fortress. Or slay the amorphous creature that’s been terrorizing defenseless villagers for centuries.

Sound too geeky?

Allow celebs including comedian Brian Posehn and “Jumanji” reboot star Felicia Day to show you the ropes of make-believe combat during the “D&D Live 2020” event. The three-day fundraiser, happening June 18-20, aims to raise money for Covid-19 relief efforts.

Hungry for more? Send any tips, polls, or story pitches to wrojas@bloomberglaw.com.

To contact the reporter on this story: Warren Rojas in Washington at wrojas@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloomberglaw.com; Andrew Childers at achilders@bloomberglaw.com

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