Paint companies have gotten very good about releasing paints that give off fewer fumes and that smell less pungent. However, many modern building paints still give off a smell, and that can make employees feel ill if you have to have your office building's interior repainted while people are trying to work in that building. Even if paint doesn't bother you, it can be a big problem for people with chemical sensitivities, fragrance allergies, respiratory disorders, and more. Here are some strategies you can use to make life easier for your employees during the repainting session.
Try for the Weekend, or at Least Overnight
If you can, have the painters work over the weekend, or at least overnight when employees aren't present. This might not be possible, though. Ask the painting company about after-hours overtime costs or deals where you might get a discount for having them paint a certain amount of square footage (because that discount can offset any overtime costs you may have to cover).
Give Employees Advance Notice and Permission to Stay Home
Let your employees know what's going on. Even if you can have the actual painting done off-hours, the fumes can stick around for a few days. Those who have health issues that could be aggravated by the fumes should be allowed to stay home if needed. If you're concerned about salary or wage costs, have them use sick or personal time.
Work out Alternate Work Spaces or Telecommuting Options
Another option is to set up telecommuting options so those employees can continue to work on those days, just from home instead of the office. If you can find alternate space onsite, too, that could work.
Become a Fan of Fans and Open Windows
Provide fans for people to use; have them place the fans in open windows (if your building has those). If the air in the office is a bit smelly, that fan placement will help push the smelly air out more quickly.
Shut Down Vents as Needed
One of the problems with modern office buildings is that the offices are usually connected by common vents, allowing smells from one end of the building to flow to the other end. Allow employees to cover or close vents in their offices as needed until the smell goes away.
Obviously, the painted areas need to be well-ventilated, too. Talk to the painters to find out the best way to remove fumes before they spread to the rest of the building.