Helpful Suggestions for A Safe Working Environment
With mandatory work-from-home orders slowly being lifted and vaccine’s more accessible, opportunities for professionals to return to the office are becoming a reality. But after many months of remote work and minimal socialization, a large group of the population are hesitant about getting back into an office environment.
When planning the transition back to normal workplace life for your employees, it is important to make sure it’s a safe and welcoming experience. This means reducing any concerns of infection or spreading. New cleaning procedures, social distancing, and physical symptom checks are commonplace now, and it is important to adapt to these new standards to attain the goal of finding our way back to a pre-COVID work landscape.
The Online Approach
In the past year we saw how quickly and efficiently we as a society were able to transfer our work life from in-office to at home. With the mass amount of communication tools and platforms, many companies have found that digital working has been beneficial for all employees, and the success of their companies, and are choosing to continue this format.
Not only has working from home been economically helpful to companies who no longer need to worry about certain overhead, but it also is the safest way to reduce the likelihood of COVID spreading during this transitional time. There are companies who have discussed an optional opportunity to work remotely or in-office depending on the individual’s comfort levels, while other companies are discovering a new way to make a hybrid work life.
Getting Back into the Flow of Things
For those companies choosing to transition in-office, it is important to adhere to all of the now-required COVID policies around cleanliness and sterilization procedures. These protocols have been in use in restaurants, stores, hotels, etc., and will be mandatory for your workplace as well.
1. Plan of Attack
Before you open your doors again, assess the situation. The ventilation, the architecture of your office space, and even the placement of your PPE should all be addressed. Have basic cleanliness and safety precautions written out for all employees to have to ensure they are following mask procedures and your company policies. Have a plan in place if the need to isolate or shut down due to an infected worker may arise.
2. Cleaning Stations
Antibacterial wipes and disinfectant spray should be distributed at numerous easy-to-locate points throughout the workspace. After anyone touches a doorknob or an item that is communal or another workers property, like a mouse or keyboard, it is advisable to sanitize it immediately. Hand sanitizer stations should be in abundance. Doorways, bathrooms, hallways, and anywhere that has space and won’t cause a fire hazard, a sanitizer station must be located. It is important to have sign reminders around the office on company protocols to ensure safety is top of mind.
3. Temperature Checks
For companies looking for additional ways to ensure employees safety, new laser temperature machines can scan an employee in short order and clear them of the most common symptom. If the employee has a fever, the protocol is to remove them immediately until a COVID test has cleared them to come back into the workplace.
4. Isolation Protocols
If you suspect that an employee might be virulent, the procedure to isolate them from the staff is clear and should be posted for all to see. The symptoms of COVID range from fever to a loss of taste, and many more. If anyone in your workplace has the slightest symptoms, including a fever, follow isolation protocols. Note that all requests to remove an employee from the workplace should not discourage or make the employee feel inadequate, it is simply a safety precaution for others and themselves.
5. Spacing Out
The most vulnerable your employees will be is during meals and group coffee breaks as this is when masks will be removed from the face and air flow will be unfiltered. Make seating arrangements that follow the 6-foot rule where people usually congregate, and if there is an outdoor location, encourage consuming food and drinks outside. These actions will limit transmission and make everyone feel safer when unmasked.
6. Don’t Panic
You are the captain of your ship. If you remain calm, so will your employees. A simple cough or sneeze if addressed poorly can cause a lot of unnecessary fear and negative feelings towards another coworker. Be vigilant, be cautious, but also, be compassionate and pragmatic. A sneeze might just mean it is allergy season. If you are concerned, address it with the individual privately. This will keep the rest of your staff focused on their work, not their mortality.
A High Tech Aid
With adversity, we often see innovation. One tremendous leap that has already made a huge difference in virus defense is the COVIDSecure app for smartphones, available in the app store. It is your one-stop solution for managing COVID in your professional and personal bubbles. With advanced patient testing, up-to-the-minute tracking of information concerning the virus, and an easy-to-operate interface, it is the best tool to keep you educated on the virus.
COVIDSecure was designed by clinicians, so you know the medical science of the virus is at the forefront of its design. And it is 100% HIPAA compliant. Get your info in real-time, customize it to your needs, and use it at work, at home, or even at school. Everything you need to remain informed and safe, at your fingertips.