GMA has almost 20 employees who, pre-COVID-19, were typically working in the office at 390 Bay Street, Toronto.   Many of our lawyers and staff were early adapters to remote work, with fully functioning home offices, a majority have been set up for years.   In that sense, we were prepared for the shift to remote work.  However, with reopening of more and more services,  I wanted to share my top links as GMA’s office manager.  These are sites I found myself clicking back to when considering how to best support our people returning to the office.

Learn and stay informed about COVID-19
As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches a possible plateau, we need to continue to apprehend and stay informed of the evolving risk factors and trends for our staff, clients and visitors. Staying up to date with official by-laws, orders and directives is critical for solid decision making.

These links keep me current with trusted and  up to date information about COVID-19:

Government of Ontario

Government of Canada

Assess risks of COVID-19 in the workplace
With knowledge comes power. Understanding the spread of COVID-19 assists with identifying risk in the workplace and how to mitigate its intensity. I am a regular visitor to the federal “mitigation of risks” website and Public Health of Ontario resources, in addition to those listed above.

We determined the firm’s overall level of risk (low to high) based on:

  1. the amount of people working in office (the more onsite the greater the risk)
  2. the types of essential contact (collaborative work/visitors/vendors/ couriers)
  3. the more vulnerable population (at-risk employees).

Once you’ve assessed these factors you can implement  tools to limit  exposure within your workplace.

Modify the workplace to lower the risks
Take control to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Overall, the lowest form of exposure is distancing oneself from the virus. Enforce the need and importance of physical distance in the office. Modify your service settings to control the distance among staff and between staff and clients and/or visitors.

Train, implement guidelines, hang posters, provide links for self-assessment testing, supply PPEs, give extra space/dividers, hire in-house cleaners, stagger shifts, allow staff to work from home.  Be sensible in the information you rely on, and don’t get bogged down.  We’re all in this together!