Although some countries are out of the woods in terms of the pandemic, the health crisis is still ongoing and highly relevant for every modern workplace. Dedicated health organizations across the world are continuously working on educating the public and helping companies cope with the spread of the virus. It’s your responsibility to protect your employees, educate them on the best ways to avoid getting sick, and of course, implement the most appropriate solutions to keep your office space clean and safe.
Managing your workplace during the pandemic is a major challenge, no matter if you’re running a small-scale organization counting no more than a dozen people, or you have a huge organization on your hands. Even as we catch a glimpse of the pandemic’s end, it’s hard to imagine a world free of masks and disinfectants for a long time. Instead of obsessive stressing and pointless decisions with no rhyme or reason, you should have a dedicated strategy that will help keep your workplace safe, healthy, and hygienic. Here are a few core tips to keep in mind!
Adapt the layout of your office
Companies are creating all kinds of office solutions to encourage employees to come back to the office without feeling overwhelmed. Do your workers feel confident about coming back to the office, or will they be anxious if your desks are too close together and there are not enough people who are vaccinated?
Knowing that the situation differs from one person to another, make sure that you can rearrange your office furniture to accommodate the situation. Keep your desks further apart and make more room for moving around the office, and start by bringing smaller groups of people back to your workplace instead of immediately opening the office for everyone.
Introduce shift-based and remote work
Various hybrid models of collaboration have emerged as a response to the pandemic, in an attempt to reduce viral infections and keep vulnerable employees safe. You can do the same with your organization and find an optimal strategy for office collaboration without jeopardizing your productivity.
— Consider shift-based work to avoid overcrowding your office space.
— Ask your employees to see if they feel comfortable working remotely on a more permanent basis, if their position allows for such a transition.
— For your workers who need to be on-site for the job, check to see if they can work in shifts to make sure they can follow safety protocols and keep social distancing.
Track potential close contacts at the office
When you have many employees working in a single office or collaborating with various departments, you need to be sure when they are at risk and what they need to do to stay safe. The easiest way to keep track of people and their interactions is to give a COVID contact tracing card to each employee in your organization.
The card will record close interactions, and you’ll be able to remind your teams of social distancing rules, but if anyone falls ill, you can then make sure everyone who has been in contact with that person is notified, tested, and isolated in time.
Smart sanitation at every turn
Some employers have already decided to go back to the office, while others are reluctant to do so. If you live and work in a country that’s slowly reopening businesses and going back to some semblance of normalcy, you need to make sure everyone in your organization is practicing prevention, to avoid an office-wide outbreak.
— Hire professionals to clean your office regularly, at least once or twice a day.
— Educate your employees on your new protocol for washing hands, using the available hand disinfectants regularly, and cleaning their own stations and tools.
— Instruct them on how best to use shared office rooms, such as your kitchen, bathroom, and conference rooms, and what the best ways are to keep these shared spaces clean.
— Switch to contactless sign-in platforms to avoid too much contamination, or keep your digital panels clean regularly.
Prepare for every eventuality just in case
Unexpected events can always push your business productivity out of balance and cause a rift among your teams – but you can help prevent many of these unfortunate scenarios. Proper crisis management during the pandemic looks a little bit different from a strategy you’d implement normally. Now that we can expect changes in what the new normal will look like, and for some of the preventative measures to remain relevant for longer, your strategy can be adapted, too.
For starters, do you have a safety protocol that can help employees manage their relationships and collaboration in case one team member gets sick? Many of your employees might have elderly family members or people with chronic illnesses living with them, so it’s vital to keep everyone informed in case someone gets sick. Organize regular testing if your employees are regularly in touch with customers, and of course, educate them on the best strategies to stay healthy and keep their distance.
Safety is truly vital for your employees to feel engaged and to be able to be productive every day at work. Considering all the stress the pandemic has already caused, the benefits of elevating their sense of wellbeing in the workplace will eventually help contribute to a more productive environment, but it will also encourage healthy collaboration and accountability. Now that you have these clear steps at hand, you can craft your own workplace management strategy to keep everyone safe, healthy, and productive.