COVID-19 has dawned an unprecedented change in our work life. This has resulted in forced precautionary measures including work from home policies. However, with restrictions lifting around the globe, many businesses are now planning to return to normality. Yet, reports on health and safety measures at workplaces have raised serious concerns.
As per a recent news report, a shocking new poll of workers across Australia and New Zealand has found:
However, the biggest challenge is now organisations need to ensure a safe transition for employees from their homes to offices. When is the right time for employees to come back? What services will be available? How can we control the spread? What if an employee tests positive? These are some of the question’s employers need to think about.
In this blog, we will discuss some key-considerations for pandemic proofing your office with hygiene at the heart of it.
Rethink your workplace set-up
Despite the reopening of offices, employees are still apprehensive about their safety. How will social distancing measures be addressed in working spaces, meeting rooms, lifts, pantry, toilets, etc? Who will count the number of people entering office premises? How many people will be given access? With higher number of people comes higher risk, it is a number game when it comes to coronavirus.
To address these concerns, employers need to develop a robust ‘COVIDSafe’ plan before employees start coming to the office. Some of the steps that you can consider are:
Maintain at least 2 metre distance within workstations/cubicles.
Place barriers between employees or extra space. For example, keep two empty desks on either side of each worker.
Restrict the number of employees in the office space at one-time.
Curate a stepwise plan by rotating group of employees or teams after every few days.
Create teams across all portfolios and ensure coverage for all roles.
Reduce physical contact between workers during meetings or breaks.
If possible, allow employees to work alone in a spare office, staff room, canteen, or meeting room.
Limit physical interaction with and between customers.
Create a schedule for lunch breaks to reduce the number of people sharing a cafeteria or kitchen.
Place signs to ensure only limited employees at a time in bathrooms and changing rooms.
Shared workplaces are at a higher risk with large volumes of employees returning. Managing the number of workers will be critical to protecting workplace health.
Be empathetic; Communication is the key
A clear communication plan is key for transitioning into a post-coronavirus world. The change in routine of coming back to work will be as great a change as the initial lockdown orders. Therefore return to work plans will need to have clear on-boarding steps with clear guidelines and instructions for employees. There is a need to create a centralised location where all the information can be compiled to avoid confusion. Create a separate page on your website or on the intranet. It is important to communicate about shifts, timings, work-from-home teams, and even how they can follow physical distancing at work.
Educate your staff and tell them about some basic hygiene and precautionary measures. Make it easy for employees to ask questions that cannot be answered on the webpage. Create a supportive environment so that employees will be able to focus on the job during the chaos. Display team-building strategies and support employees as they adapt to the changes.
Develop a robust cleaning schedule
Before resuming work, your employees will have questions around cleaning protocols. What kind of cleaning protocols will be used? What instruction and training will be provided to workers on cleaning and worker hygiene measures? What about high-touch items? And much more.
Maintaining effective hygiene, health monitoring and cleaning should be your priority.
Define cleaning schedule for each office location including different floors or areas.
Ensure cleaning and sanitation protocols for desks, meeting rooms, bathrooms, corridors, and kitchen spaces.
Provide face masks, gloves, alcohol wipes, handwashing stations, hand sanitisers etc.
Allocate time for cleaning teams to sanitize areas used in the office.
Avoid overlapping of teams so that fewer people will interact.
If your organization adopts an aggressive cleaning policy, employees may find it difficult to adhere to every detail. Focus more on the areas that are widely used rather than wasting time on spaces that are not used.
Keep a track of Covid19 Incident at workplace
As per World Health Organisation (WHO), fever, tiredness, and dry cough are the most common symptoms. You must understand, employees in this situation may need special attention and time off to undergo check-ups.
If an employee tests COVID19 positive take necessary actions until his recovery. Communicate this to the management. Details like name, date of contracting the virus, isolation date, etc should be confidential. Ensure you are in touch with him/her and their family so that they do not feel anxious about their status.
Employers should ensure if health services are in place or not. So that the employees can take care of their health.
If you’d like to see one of the most promising COVID19 workplace assessment application in action, book a demo.
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ReadiNow COVID19 Workplace Assessment Application is aimed at helping organisations to return to normal operations in a safe environment.