5 Tips for Preparing the Workplace for the New Normal
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to adapt to a new normal. Workers are now required to work remotely, and social distancing is becoming increasingly vital.
If your business is not yet prepared for the new normal, now is the time to take action! Begin with these tips:
1.Educate Your Workers on the Risk of COVID-19
Most workers are aware that COVID-19 poses a risk to their health, but few understand the severity of this danger. It is essential to educate your employees about how COVID-19 spreads and what they can do to reduce it.
Keep them updated on any new information regarding the virus itself and how it affects society at large (e.g., social distancing guidelines).
Consider providing your staff with training or other resources for staying safe during these challenging times. Educate them about PPE needs and proper hygiene techniques such as handwashing frequently with soap after interacting with customers or clients.
2.Offer a Hybrid Work Setup, if Possible
A hybrid work setup allows setup allows employees to work in an office environment and remotely. This can benefit workers who’d like more flexibility or those who live far away from the workplace but still want access to the same resources as their colleagues on-site (i.e., WiFi, printers).
Equip employees working remotely with the necessary tools to be productive, such as a laptop, good Internet connection, and headphones. Establish clear guidelines for communication among remote workers and those in the office to minimize confusion.
Encourage team-building among remote workers by organizing virtual gatherings or providing opportunities for them to connect online. Ensure all remote employees know company policies (e.g., vacation time, sick days) and how to access them.
3.Promote Social Distancing in the Workplace
Social distancing limits close contact between people, making it one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19. To promote it in the workplace, encourage workers to keep a distance of six feet or more from each other. Lim large group gatherings and cancel all nonessential events.
Create physical barriers like an acrylic shield to separate workers if needed. If your office has an open-floor plan, consider rearranging desks to promote social distancing. Install signage around the office reminding workers of the importance of social distancing.
Monitoring worker behaviour for signs of illness is one way to help enforce social distancing in the workplace. If you have a sick employee, ask them to stay home until symptom-free.
4.Promote Proper Hygiene in the Office
Proper hygiene practices in the workplace can help reduce the risk of COVID-19. Encourage workers to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom or before eating lunch.
Keep hand sanitizers around for employees who prefer not to use soap and water. Ensure they are at least 60% alcohol content. Consider providing workers with disposable masks if your facility does not already have them available (e.g., hospital masks).
Place signage around the office reminding people about proper hygiene practices, such as covering their mouths when coughing or sneezing. If your office has a communal kitchen, provide separate areas for food preparation and eating to minimize the risk of cross-contamination. Sanitize all surfaces regularly (e.g., countertops, keyboards, phones).
5.Create an Emergency Plan
Every workplace should have an emergency plan in case of a pandemic or other serious event. Review your company’s strategy and update it as necessary based on the latest information about COVID-19.
Ensure all employees are familiar with the plan and know their role in an emergency. Ensure you have up-to-date contact information for all employees, including those who work remotely.
Designate specific people responsible for different aspects of the emergency plan (e.g., communication, safety, logistics). Test your emergency plan regularly by simulating different scenarios. Update your insurance policy to include coverage for pandemics and other emergencies that may occur.
Develop a protocol for shutting down your facility if necessary (e.g., due to a government order). Ensure no hazardous materials or equipment could pose a risk once left unattended for long periods (e.g., chemicals). Plan for how you will continue to operate if a significant number of your employees cannot work (e.g., due to illness or quarantine).
Outline the steps you will take to communicate with customers and other stakeholders in this situation. Ensure your website or social media accounts are updated regularly during an emergency.
The best way to prepare your workplace for the new normal after COVID-19 is to implement some of the precautions listed above. By promoting social distancing, proper hygiene, and emergency planning, you can reduce the risk of exposure to this virus in your office and keep your team and clients safe.
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