Getting Back To Work Safely
Per the most recent Labour Force Survey from StatCan, 5.5 million Canadian workers were impacted by COVID-19 economic shutdowns in just the first three months. As we continue to recover from COVID-19’s jolt to the economy and strive to achieve a new normal, business leaders face the challenge of bringing their teams back to physical workplaces. One of the first topics to consider is how to organize the office or job site to provide worker safety and company productivity. To make this task a little easier for understandably stressed company management, we’ve compiled some expert tips.
Designing the Post-Pandemic Workplace
Consider taking the following steps to limit the risk of spreading COVID-19 or contributing to a second pandemic wave:
- Stagger in-office schedules: Stagger entry times to limit crowded entries and elevators. Divide staff members into teams that will alternate days or weeks working in the office and from home. You may have, by now, designated some positions as completely work-from-home. However, you may want to bring those employees into the office once in a while for in-person collaboration—with plenty of physical distancing (at least 2 metres) built into your policies. For manufacturing teams or construction crews, closer physical interaction may be necessary, and the below tips may be most relevant.
- Explain COVID workplace safety measures and address concerns as raised: Encourage employee communication, feedback and ideas about new policies. Reply to concerns raised so that everyone feels heard–and as safe as possible. Organizational change experts, McKinsey and Co., have dubbed this pandemic “the toughest leadership test” many business leaders will ever face.
- Designate solo tools: Ensure that employees are informed about avoiding the sharing of tools, desks, worktables or workstations, phones, and computers/keyboards. Items that may be shared should be touched by gloved hands only if possible. Frequent sanitizing will help keep any shared surfaces/equipment safe. Auto-open doors, with no door handles or touching needed, would be ideal. In some cases, doors might be left open and monitored via camera or by a designated staff member.
- Enhance breathing space: Create additional space between office furnishings/workstations. Reconfigure the office or worksite to maintain the 2-metre distance between occupied desks or work areas.
- Increase fresh air quotient: Let more outdoor air inside, if possible. Open more windows or adjusting building ventilation systems.
- Emphasize responsible self-assessment: Underscore that anyone feeling ill (or who has been exposed and not yet cleared by a test result) must stay at home in order to keep others safe and guard their own health.
- Temperature check upon entry: Consider adding a body-temperature monitoring station that everyone must visit before entering the workplace. Employees with an elevated temperature could be sent home before coming into contact with others, and recommended for COVID-19 testing (and receipt of negative results) before returning to the workplace.
- Implement frequent sanitization: Clean public, high-touch, or shared surfaces, often throughout the day. Don’t forget stair rails, elevator buttons, countertops, bathroom sinks, door handles, etc. Keep hand sanitizer and wipes available, creating small sanitizing stations where these can be accessed as needed by anyone during the day. You could also designate one team member, or a cleaning person/service, to circulate and wipe the target surfaces/areas constantly.
- Enable seamless communication: Consider implementing an “always-on” collaboration channel, where employees at home and in the workplace could communicate, as needed, at will.
- Consult Ottawa workplace risk mitigation guidance: Ottawa Public Health has published tips and guidelines for conducting specific business types during the pandemic.
We hope you’ll use these tips to re-establish your office, both physical and virtual, with greater ease. When you need expert managed IT services and consulting, to make coming back–and going forward–simpler for your company, rely on our team. Contact Fuelled Networks today.
Published On: 29th June 2020 by Ernie Sherman.