It’s been over a year since the pandemic began and, with vaccines becoming widely available, we are finally having a peek of the tunnel’s end. This has huge implications on the workplace dynamic which, for so long, was shifted to alternative and work-from-home arrangements. Although there’s no certainty as to when everyone will be called back to the office amid a global health crisis that’s yet to be fully exterminated, it’s only right to prepare as early as now.
Last year, we learned so much not only about caring for our health but also about keeping our surroundings clean. We’ve now accustomed ourselves to wearing masks, washing hands frequently, and keeping a good physical distance from each other whenever we’re out and about. Regularly adhering to these minimum health and safety protocols would prove to be not a hard task for the workforce once they return to the office.
But, will the mere efforts of every individual be sufficient to abate the chances of the transmission of any disease? For businesses that are yet to pick themselves up from the rubble of an economic downturn, how do they do things right from the get-go and keep employee welfare and safety first at the same time? Here are some recommended ways:
The most obvious step that the management couldn’t skip is to formally plan out their infrastructure. Not just the workstations, kiosks where face-to-face interactions among employees and with clients are done, staff pantries, meeting rooms, and restrooms, should be re-designed to allow the consistent observance of physical distancing and other guidelines set forth by their local governments. Installing clear physical barriers in transaction counters, putting sanitizing stations in entrances and restrooms, and setting seats further apart than the pre-COVID setup are just some basic changes that should be applied.
It is also important to involve the employees in the planning stage. Hearing their preferences, as some may continue to prefer working from home while some may have alternative work arrangement suggestions, is equally important. Not only do some have preexisting health conditions which explain their hesitation, but the environment also contributes a lot to their work performance. If anything, feeling safe is their utmost consideration in choosing a working setup.
Next is to place mechanisms by which they can monitor the productivity of their workers. Working physically apart most of the time could work for the better or worse of the team’s dynamic. This is when digital productivity monitoring solutions, along with other seamless collaboration tools, could work to their advantage.
Staying productive and following community health standards are the most the employee can do to keep themselves as well as their colleagues safe. Nevertheless, potential health risks still come into play within the office’s walls just like any building structure. Illness-causing pathogens and irritants should be kept at bay and this could be done by implementing enhanced cleaning protocols such as rigidly following a deep cleaning and disinfection schedule. Tapping on the expertise of a commercial janitorial company is also a viable option for businesses in maintaining the cleanliness and safety of their facilities.
By all means, it is also a great plus to educate employees on how to keep their workspaces clean. It’s just as important to constantly train them on managing basic health issues as well as health emergencies. Creating a culture of shared responsibility could just become the norm and would prove to be beneficial in the long run, as in making the business less susceptible to shutdowns.
Health monitoring tech
Medical device companies are going the extra mile to improve health monitoring solutions in this critical period, contactless temperature scanners for office entrances for example. Companies could also tap on their IT to create an online health survey, which asks the employees if they are experiencing any COVID-related symptoms and which they have to clear before entering the company building, and allows the effective archiving of health data. There are also apps developed by data scientists that not only efficiently trace contacts to infected individuals but also facilitate safer foot traffic in and out of establishments.
Investing in precious tech such as these could be pricey. However, it significantly lowers risks, reduces fear, and overall, helps the organization focus on business. Health is wealth as they say.
The adaptability of businesses in this time of unprecedented changes greatly determines whether they will survive. Times like these remind them that the people are what propel them forward and, more than ever, their safety should be a top priority. This only calls for a more holistic approach to employee welfare and, also to avoid any untoward incidents, businesses must never undermine the benefits of risk assessments and, in response, implementing sturdy safety mechanisms.