Get ready to go back to the office

By Andrea Higginbottom, AVN Practice Growth Expert.

There’s a glimmer of hope that the end of lockdown Mark 2 might be coming soon. So are you ready to get back to the office? Or to put it another way, is your office ready for you?

Now is the time to blow off the cobwebs and make it fit for a post-lockdown world. Maybe you or some of your team have been using it during lockdown, but there won’t have been the same amount of activity as usual.

Here are a few ideas to think about – and you could even pass these on to your clients too.

Spring clean your office

It’s time to tidy. Horizontal surfaces gather clutter, so now is the time to remove that clutter. Look at every item and ask yourself – do I use it? Do I need it? If the answer is ‘yes’ then find a home for it. If you are unsure or unsure if one of your team uses it, create a designated ‘unsure’ place and put it there. Then bin it if nobody’s used it in 3 months time.

Working in a clean and tidy space is good for you and good for customers. Take a before and after picture and ensure it stays like the ‘after’ picture.

Clean desk policy

If you notice that desks are covered in papers, consider whether you need a clear desk policy. This isn’t about removing personal effects; it just means that you put everything away at the end of the day.

As enhanced cleaning is likely to be the order of the day when people and customers return, this simple habit will make the end of day cleaning much easier and ensure that you don’t leave any confidential details on display.

Thorough cleaning regime

Think about this now – will you outsource cleaning or do it in-house? Either way, think about the cleaning equipment you need and make sure it’s fit for purpose. Will you need any protective equipment; for example, do any cleaning solutions require you to wear rubber gloves? If there are any specific instructions – such as ‘use in a ventilated area’ – are these clearly marked? What is your process for restocking?

If you outsource cleaning, think about this now. What needs to be done and how often does it need doing? What are the arrangements for accessing the office? Does the company hold DBS checks for their employees?

If you are unsure about how to comply with the guidelines, take professional advice to ensure you are COVID-safe. There’s more information on the Health & Safety Executive website here

Phone and website messages

When did you last check your answerphone message? What does your telephone answering company say to callers? The information callers need to know may well have changed and you may have changed the message you want to give them – your opening hours may be different, for example. Check your website too and make sure the message is the same no matter how they contact you.

Now is the time to walk through your customer journey and iron out any niggles.

Get back in the game

Please don’t be defeatist: Oh my clients won’t have any money; they’ll want a reduction in fees; I can’t possibly charge them more. Turn this on its head! Your clients may have had a tough time and need more support. Where their customers come from, the goods or services they provide, how they get paid – all of these may have changed and you are there to help. Talk to your Practice Growth Expert now about what you can do and how AVN can support you.

If you aren’t an AVN member yet, why not book a free strategy session to get an outside view of the challenges in your practice and how to tackle them? You can do that here.