How Documentation Played a Major Role in DeanHouston’s Reopening

Businesses are having to remain flexible navigating this pandemic, especially when it comes to properly reopening offices. At DeanHouston, we put in hours of research to find out what documentation was needed to safely and successfully reopen.

To ensure we covered all of our bases, we created an official reopening policy documentation process for referencing and guidance.

Where to Start

When faced with a constant overload of COVID-19 information, it can be hard to determine what is real and what is speculation.

According to Rene Normand, the Human Resource Manager at DeanHouston, it quickly became overwhelming trying to sift through what was fact and what was fiction.

We found one of the most important parts of consuming information about COVID-19 was: Quality of Information over Quantity.

That’s why we focused on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Society of Human Resources, our payroll provider and two local law firms in Cincinnati.

By doing this, we could zero-in on relevant, helpful, up-to-date information and not waste time or energy deciding what information was useful.

What Documentation and Why?

We had to determine what documentation we needed to plan, create and share to provide our employees with peace of mind. A general healthy at work policy is where we started – and the rest fell into place, including:

  • Office Hygiene Procedures
  • Healthy Visiting
  • Workplace Protocol
  • Employee Self-Certification Return to Work

These include everything from CDC/OSHA information and state-mandated regulations, to DeanHouston-developed procedures and policies.

They provide everyone with relevant information, about the procedures, policies and processes that are in place and give employees something to reference if necessary. Keeping everything up-to-date and everyone on the same page is essential to reopening as successfully and safely as possible.

Our Healthy at Work Policy

Our healthy at work policy covers everything from practical guidelines at work, how to set up a COVID-19 response team, necessary steps taken in the office to protect employees and what to do if someone tests positive. Implementing helpful rules and guidelines is our way of trying to cover all of our bases and be prepared for any scenario before it happens.

For example, having a self-administered health check prior to entering the building, requiring face masks and providing the resources needed to keep a sanitary office are all thoroughly explained in our healthy at work policy.

This may seem like a lot of work preparing for “what ifs,” but we’d rather be prepared for anything.

How Our HR Stayed Calm and Carried On

There is no easy way to adjust to chaos. As Rene explained, “Some days felt like trekking through quicksand in rubber boots. But with the support of teammates and colleagues anything is possible.”

This is what helped us get ahead:

  • We did the groundwork upfront because the more prepared we were in the beginning the better.
  • We listened to only credible sources – sticking to no more than five. It was important for us to get to the facts.
  • We also listened to everyone’s concerns. We did not discount or dispute people’s concerns, anxiety and stress.
  • We overcommunicated about absolutely everything.
  • We delegated tasks because taking everything on alone was too daunting. That’s why we had a reopening task force so others can help where necessary.

There is no right way to adapt to such chaos and change, but we felt like we put in the work to come up with a practical plan – all while making sure we stayed flexible to adapt when things inevitably change.

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