Your Back-to-Office Checklist

Business | August 25, 2021

A list you should be checking more than twice.   

You might not yet know what day your team will be headed back to the office. You might not even know which desk is yours! But when it comes to returning to work amidst an ongoing pandemic, there’s at least one thing you can be sure of: business as usual is simply not going to cut it.   

From sanitation to technology, there’s quite a bit to consider when reopening your workplace to employees. Successfully transitioning to a new, in-person workflow will require a comprehensive overhaul of your pre-pandemic setup to keep operations running smoothly – even if only part-time.

To help you keep track of it all, the EMPIST team has put together a back-to-office checklist outlining those factors organizational leaders need to consider before opening the doors. Follow along below, your staff – and clients – will thank you for it.  


Sanitation & Safety  

The cleanliness and safety of your workspace should be priority number one when returning back to the office.   

  • Determine a mask and vaccine policy. Frequently remind employees of this policy.   
  • Outline a return-to-office exposure plan in case of emergencies.  
  • Sanitize the entire space BEFORE employees come back to the office.  
  • Establish, communicate, and adhere to daily sanitation procedures.  
  • Ensure that cleaning supplies, PPE, and other necessities are in stock and easily accessible.  
  • Make note of any new protocols as outlined by your building management.  
  • Stay up to date on the latest CDC guidelines. Have a plan in place in case those guidelines change.  
  • Limit the size of in-person meetings and the capacity of common spaces.   
  • Enforce on-site policies. Disclose the consequences of ignoring those policies to staff.  


Make a plan and stick to it. The more specifics you can provide employees with before you reach the back-to-office date, the better.   

  • Determine your new, in-office hours of operation.   
  • Establish which teams will be in the office on which days.   
  • Designate a point person for in-office operations.   
  • Consider implementing a phased approach when choosing your back-to-office return date.   
  • Reiterate remote working guidelines for offices following a hybrid model.   
  • Ensure new hires have the information they need to visit an office they’ve yet to enter.   
  • Guarantee staff members have access to the building.  
  • Create a layout that includes new hires and departures, if applicable.   


Don’t panic; Technological issues are to be expected when transitioning back-to-office. Ease the stress on your IT department or Managed Service Provider by doing the following:   

  • Confirm that your internet is working.   
  • Test both the corporate and guest Wi-Fi networks. Change your passwords – if you haven’t already – and be sure to communicate the change with staff.   
  • Inform your IT department or Managed Service Provider of your new schedule.  
  • Check that all peripherals (printers, monitors, cameras, etc.) are working.  
  • Guarantee that you have the equipment you need to accommodate the right number of staff.  
  • Certify that each phone is working and connected to the right number.  
  • Ensure that all machines are running smoothly. If employees are bringing machines from home, assure that they adhere to necessary security standards before connecting to the network.  
  • Affirm that any gear brought home at the start of the pandemic is returning with employees.   
  • Take inventory of your current applications, services, and technological processes. Ask, is your ecosystem ready to handle in-person work, even if only part-time?  
  • Update software and hardware, if need be.   
  • Remove and properly store any unneeded tech.  
  • Prepare for issues to arise in advance. While taking the above precautions can limit potential back-to-office setbacks, you should be ready for them to occur regardless.   


Times of flux are easy targets for hackers. Secure your technology when heading back-to-office by following these guidelines.

  • Make necessary updates to passwords, software, hardware, and more.
  • Guarantee that your network connection is secure.
  • Ensure that all machines connected to the network are safe.
  • Ask your employees to complete new, reinvigorated security training.

Company Culture  

Going back-to-office can be a culture shock to many. Here’s what you can do to mitigate the risks.   

  • Set up a clear line of communication between staff and organizational leaders early.   
  • Create a space for feedback on new in-person policies – and ask for it often!   
  • Listen carefully to employee concerns.   
  • Provide fun, engaging back-to-office activities like catered meals and coffee for returning staff.  
  • Establish new routines that bridge remote and in-person work.  


Large-scale changes to your day-to-day operations often cost time and money; Going back-to-office is no different. Adhering to the checklist above can certainly help – but there’s always more you can do to streamline the process. From IT Managed Services to cloud migration, EMPIST’s work is making things work for you. To learn more about our services, visit us online.   


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