DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Carol Roehrig, CEO of BKM Total Office of Texas in Dallas, says she will welcome back her 70 employees to the office in stages. “We decided to open June 1st officially.”
Because of COVID-19, Roehrig just had her showroom disinfected and made sure she has enough hand-wipes and hand sanitizer.
And screens to protect employees at their desks are on their way. “I want all the employees to know we have everything ready for them when they return,” she said.
Asked how excited she and her employees are about returning, she said, “I think it’s mixed. They’re many that are nervous because we’ve been in our homes. And so now, to go in the office space and know you’re going to have to wear a mask, that’s not so comforting. But many want to come back to be with their friends.”
Roehrig is a member of the Dallas Regional Chamber, which just conducted its second survey of its member businesses since the pandemic arrived in North Texas.
The Chamber wanted to gauge how firms are preparing to transition employees from their homes to the office.
About 100 firms responded, and of the companies with fewer than 500 employees, 85% anticipate allowing work from home beyond what the government recommends, 88% foresee less travel, 84% foresee less attendance at large gatherings, and 70% foresee less in-office meetings with customers and guests.
Angela Farley, COO & CFO of the Dallas Regional Chamber, said: “Companies that are able to effectively work from home, they said let’s take it slow. Other companies that really need their economic livelihood is based on we’ve got to get our doors open, they’re going forward.”
She also said another key question is about the need for office space. “Some companies are saying wait a minute, if work from home can be effective, maybe we don’t need as much space as we did in the past. But other companies are saying wait a minute, we’re going to do more social distancing and allow people to have more personal spaces. We’re actually going to need more office space,” she said.
Roehrig is helping other businesses make their offices more safe for COVID-19.
She said newly designed screens and other barriers will become the new workplace standard and can be retrofitted into existing spaces.
One new trend workers will see is what’s called bleach-cleanable furniture — something that can withstand regular disinfecting.
But Roehrig said it’s too early to determine what office workspaces will look like long term. “Customers don’t necessarily know how many people will continue to work from home and how many will work in the office,”she said.