IPG openned its offices' doors, both in San Diego and Miami, since last week. This reopening was the result of hard planning work that began the day they closed, seeking to flatten the curve.
Rocio Harb, director at IPG and in charge of the Miami office, spoke to Funds Society about how their organization and having everything well planned before the opening were key to their return.
In her opinion, it is very important to “plan, talk to the building, talk to the employees, do research, see how daycares are working -since you cannot open and expect mothers to return to work when there is no day care or school."
Overall, they are “super excited to be back in the office. Despite the fact that working from home worked fine, being face-to-face and from an emotional point of view, knowing that you are reaching normality, makes you feel good," she says.
The San Diego office opened with 10 people and Miami with three, and “little by little we expect to add between 5 to 10 in San Diego and in Miami, the doors are open for when advisors want to return.” The executive expects to be at its peak by mid-July, "if everything continues as before and there has not been a second wave of infections," of course.
When arriving at the building, some measures must be followed, for example, there can only be two people in the elevator. Upon entering the office one finds thermometers, gloves, masks and antibacterial gel. The process to follow is to put on hand sanitizer, then take your temperature and write down your name, date and temperature. Afterwards, you must change the mask and used gloves for new ones and only after that, access the office.
The premises were redecorated to maintain social distancing, including the use of plexiglasses in open areas, Harb tells us, adding that since they started preparing for the return, months ago, they have been able to build a significant stock of prevention supplies such as gloves, face masks and antibacterial gel.
Also, although most people in Miami have private offices, "when you leave your own office, to go to the bathroom or whatever, you should wear a mask."
For Harb, going through the experience of working remotely was enriching from the point of view that “we learned that we worked quite well and that we could continue working from home, but opening was more emotional than necessary. Having a date to open an office and the advisors know that they can return serves everyone emotionally, ” she says, commenting that new tech tools have also been incorporated into the day-to-day business of the company.
For her, face-to-face was what she missed the most. “This office is three years old but the team has known each other for more than 10. We are friends, we are a family and the truth is that we missed each other, seeing each other, chatting and sharing our experiences. With San Diego we have a call with all the staff every two weeks so there is a lot of contact, but seeing us is totally different."
To other companies planning to open, Harb reiterates that what worked best for them was to start planning early and have fairly detailed guidelines, which were sent to everyone beforehand followed up via call with all employees to answer their questions. "A lot of work must be done, like research, guidelines and surveys to give your coworkers peace of mind," she concludes.