With many countries easing lockdown and quarantine restrictions around the world, many offices are also starting to prepare for the return of their workers. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the coronavirus, simply having everyone show up for work without any clear safety guidelines is just setting yourself up for failure.
Here are a few things you need to consider to prepare your workplace for the return of your employees.
Prepare for a Hybrid Workplace
Don’t expect to have 100% of your workforce back in the office anytime soon. It is best to do this in phases, and you would need to prepare yourself for a hybrid workplace. This means that you’ll have a blend of workers in the office while the rest of the company will still be working from home. Make sure you have a sound technological infrastructure to cater to this kind of setup.
Set Clear Guidelines on Ensuring Your Workers’ Safety
Your workers are just as anxious about the safety of returning to work as you are. As such, you and your executive team should come up with as detailed a plan as possible to ensure everybody’s safety.
It is also important to get your employees’ input on the matter. You can choose to run a company-wide survey before meeting with your executive team or scheduling virtual meetings after you’ve come up with a rough draft of your working guidelines. Either way, what’s essential is that everyone’s concerns are addressed.
Provide Complete PPE Supplies for Workers
Assure your workers that you will provide complete protective equipment for them. Basic PPEs you should supply include masks and gloves. Make it mandatory that they wear masks when they’re in the office and, possibly, even outside of it. For further guidance on the proper use of masks, check out the guidelines set forth by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Other protective gear that you could supply include face shields or full-body PPE wear. This, of course, would depend on your industry. Still, it might be a good idea to have a few pieces of these on hand, if only for everybody’s piece of mind.
Have Clear Cleaning and Disinfecting Guidelines
The most recommended way of protecting yourself from the virus is to always wash your hands with soap and water. That said, you might want to provide them with their own personal sanitation kits that include hand soap, alcohol spray, and toilet paper for their bathroom breaks. This would help your employees feel much safer.
Similarly, you can set up sanitation stations at strategic parts in the office where you and your employees would always have easy access to them. Here you can place alcohol or hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes and solutions. Make sure to label hazardous materials. It is important to make these labels as clear as possible. If you can’t handle the printing yourself, seek out a reputable label printing service provider in your area that can help you print and design specific labels that you need.
Furthermore, set-up a strict cleaning schedule where you clean and disinfect the office and office equipment at regular intervals. We suggest doing this twice a day (first thing in the morning and the last thing after the workday).
Even with all these measures in place, the important thing to remember is that communication is still the most vital part of any infectious disease preparedness plan your office undertakes. This should be at the top of everyone’s minds during and after your company’s transition into the so-called “new normal.”