With the introduction of COVID-19, workplace safety, which has always been a significant focus, has taken on new relevance. As companies begin introducing individuals back to the workplace, they should try to adopt new policies and procedures to reduce the risk. Businesses want to do everything they can to protect their customers and employees, and providing training on how to operate securely and sanitarily can help comfort both employees and customers.
A return-to-work memorandum to employees can help outline the policies and procedures you want to implement after returning to work. Include information on when employees should return, what else they might expect, and how practices may change to accommodate COVID-19. Leaders in every sector are concerned with keeping their people motivated and effective. This begins by ensuring that all employees who carry on working from home have the resources they need to do so comfortably while also arranging a mindful return-to-work for others that can evolve in the weeks and months ahead.
Many suggestions for organizations are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cleaning instructions and other measures to safeguard employees from the spread of COVID-19 are included. We've also compiled a list of guidelines to help ensure your employees are safe and comfortable as they return to work.
Stay home if you're feeling under the weather
While it is good to strive to get tasks done, that will need to change oppositely drastically. Employees will be required to remain at home to slow the spread of the virus. In a workplace, a single employee can infect numerous people.
While a 2-week incubation time for the virus may result in no symptoms, employees who exhibit any early signs should be required to remain home. Early warnings include:
- Loss of appetite and sense of smell
- Dry cough
- Body aches
These can persist for a week and then swiftly worsen. Some people have just minor symptoms. Others may suffer severe symptoms such as high fevers, breathlessness, and a persistent cough. Employees who are experiencing symptoms must remain at home in any instance.
Promote a healthy workplace
An easy technique for businesses to better protect people at work is to provide temperature checks before entering the building. Set up an area(s) just outside of the building to test employee temps before entering the facility and limiting entry points. Employees with a temperature of 100°F or higher must be sent home. Ensure to remind employees to preserve a 6-foot distance between themselves and their colleagues while preparing to enter.
Make cleaning products easily accessible and introduce additional thorough cleaning procedures for overnight personnel. Don't forget to clean out common resources like photocopiers and desks. Keep public surfaces clean, such as entrances and restrooms. This may also need the employment of additional cleaning specialists.
Consider closing shared spaces, such as lunch and break rooms, and urging employees to take breaks at their desks or elsewhere to prevent direct contact. If it isn't feasible, explore staggering lunch and break periods to let fewer employees use these common areas simultaneously. Include time between sessions to clean the space. Remove the chairs from the area and encourage employees to eat at a safe distance away from teammates.
Employees who deal with the public must wear masks. Request that employees wear masks beyond their workstations if they work in booths or offices. This may lower their chances of spreading the illness or acquiring it from others.
Flexible office furniture
Keeping your employees comfy at work can benefit their overall health, both physically and mentally. Encourage their overall wellness by using ergonomic office solutions such as height-adjustable standing desks, mobile workstations, ergonomic office chairs, and/or adjustable monitor arms. The correct fit will also improve their motivation and productivity, both of which are desirable in these troubled times.
FlexiSpot has a large selection of ergonomic equipment for your home and office. All products are meticulously designed using the finest materials to improve health and quality of life. Their purpose is to deliver innovative solutions to enhance workplace settings that encourage efficiency, productivity, and well-being. Through ingenious and ergonomic solutions, the aim is to serve clients attain new levels of well-being and create the ideal work-life balance.
Messaging over talking
When people speak, they release aerosols, which may include viruses. The louder you speak, the more and more particles are likely to be expelled. Encourage employees to avoid as many face-to-face conversations as possible and remind them that the recommended contact mode should be messaging, texting, or email. Walking 6 feet away from an infected individual may pose a minimal chance of infection, yet interacting with that same person 6 feet away may pose a greater risk. Talking on the phone or online, if at all possible, should be the favored mode of communication.
Guidelines for social distancing call for a six-foot space between people who do not live together. Rethink your workplace environment and look for methods to spread out with the support of facilities. You will most likely lose specialized workspace due to this, therefore considering flexible work arrangements that enable employees to share the same workstations on various days. This is simple for employees working in offices and workstations. Stay at your workstation at all times. Nearby workers may need to be spaced far apart. Consult with employees about how they can perform more efficiently with less close contact. Remind them not to group. Distance may be critical in delaying the spread.
Bring your own
Handwashing after pressing the buttons makes vending machines safe to use. Office fridges and coffee machines are high-risk places that should be temporarily shut down. Unless your establishment provides sterile single-serve straw and utensils, request that employees bring these items from home as well. Mobile coolers and mini-fridges may also arise.
Include those working from home
Detailing a return-to-work strategy is a central emphasis area for company leaders, but keep in mind that some individuals will keep working from home. It could be due to limits in your renovated office, or it could be due to personal medical problems. Whatever the reason, these remote employees want the same adaptable office equipment as non-remote workers.
Kitchen counters and dining room tables aren't built for productive work. Set a compensation that home employees can use to buy height-adjustable standing desks if you haven't yet. There are many options on the market, so try reducing it down to a few recommended items for laptop users, taller workers, single-monitor users, or those who want a dual or triple-monitor setup. Make sure to include suggestions for incorporating mobility into their work-from-home regimen.
It's enticing for businesses to race ahead with their return-to-work plans to intensify output and meet pre-pandemic targets. Give out surveys regularly to collect employee feedback on their workstations, schedule, and everything else relating to your company's pandemic approach. Be willing to incorporate their comments and evolve your practices in tandem with new research and changing health recommendations. Employees are the backbone of any successful company, and they must be on board with the changes that are happening in these unusual times.
The pandemic has taken us by surprise, but businesses can be better ready to adjust to the shifting circumstances that lie ahead by adopting a few tangible steps.