With vaccinations rapidly rolling and distribution methods established, we should be expecting a return to normalcy, especially for employees and businesses, in the following months. However, although there is already some relief from the coronavirus scourge seen on the horizon, that doesn’t mean we can already relax and put our defenses down.
The concern will not only be about when they can go back to their usual operation, but it would most likely be on the lines of being ready or prepared. Although the beginning of COVID-19 caught everyone off guard, resuming operations and regular workdays can be anticipated and planned for in advance. Post-pandemic preparation will involve ensuring that your physical distancing is prepared for the full workforce and ensuring that you have procedures in place to deal with any unforeseen circumstances that may arise.
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Physical distancing as the new standard
Although an open floor plan workspace was prevalent before the outbreak, isolation is now the new buzzword in the corporate world. Providing employees with their own physical bubble by using industrial office furniture such as ergonomic workstations, separating workspace, and privacy barriers can significantly reduce the transmission of viruses, including the common cold and seasonal flu.
Moreover, studies have shown that incorporating privacy in the workplace, whether physically or information-based, would encourage productivity and creativity among employees. Thus, this move will most likely benefit both parties.
Making cleanliness a habit
By the time the world reaches the herd of immunity, most people will have developed the practice of proper hygiene, sanitizing, and becoming more health-conscious. And this is excellent news for businesses. Once the effects of COVID-19 have faded, maintaining a healthy workplace implies less disease transmission, less sickness, fewer absences, and less staff turnover.
Maintain cleaning office equipment and facilities and visibly display reminders to wash surfaces down every after usage. Distribute bottles of hand sanitizers throughout your office for staff and clients to use. Moreover, consider upgrading your office pantry or break room facilities by installing personal areas for each team to use. You may also include utensil dispensers or encourage your employees to bring their own to lessen sharing, spread diseases, and maintain a healthy office routine.
Along with the various health supplies, ensure that you have organized cleaning and safety protocols in place. Sanitation will have to be done more frequently and thoroughly in the future. If you don’t already have a cleaning team in place, consider hiring one in the area as soon as you start bringing back employees.
Sick pay might well be a wise investment.
You might want to consider providing paid sick leave to your workers, especially if you haven’t done that in the past. Naturally, an employee would attend work as usual when ill, especially if the sick leaves aren’t paid, the workload would double and may even incur deductions. The short-term advantage of not compensating an employee for being homesick has the unintended consequence of spreading sickness across the organization.
In the long run, it may even put much toll on you as lost labor and production would be more expensive than sick leave compensation for individuals who are qualified for the program. Work with your employees to develop policies that are as liberal as you can manage, and emphasize that these specific leaves should only be used for real illnesses rather than as an occasional break from work.
Prepare for the worst-case scenario.
Around 62% of companies have reported having crisis management plans ready; however, only a few have updated them. Perhaps one of the essential takeaways from the pandemic was the need to have crisis strategies in place. Catastrophic events, work injuries and accidents, and disease outbreaks all have detrimental effects on businesses and people.
A policy outlining what to do in case of an emergency, who is responsible for notifying and alerting employees during the circumstance, and what actions would be followed to resume normal operations is critical for workplace preparation.
You would want to analyze the danger and its consequences, figure out how you can begin operating, and maintain the channels of communication open as much as possible. Having an employee-conscious system in place can assist reduce misunderstanding and optimize a smooth transition.
The primary responsibility of work management is to lead by example for employees. Employers should encourage team leaders and workers to use their sick leave when unwell and not be punished for needing rest. Keep in mind that when it comes to office sanitation, you should also walk the talk. As we progress, numerous best practices the pandemic has taught us can assist in maintaining the working environment as healthy and safe as possible.