The pandemic forced businesses to adjust for survival. Because of the sudden establishment of lockdowns and quarantines, companies had to lay off or provide early retirement to loyal employees. The situation led to numerous enterprises taking financial hits, with smaller businesses forced to shut down because of bankruptcy. The pandemic remains a problematic situation that changed the world forever.
Fortunately, we are on our way to recovery. Because of efforts to combat COVID-19, businesses are starting to recover to the point of welcoming employees back on-site. While it feels like a celebratory achievement, business owners must remember that the virus remains a severe threat to employee health and safety. To ensure that the on-site return is seamless, here are a few necessary steps to ensure that employees are safe and productive in the office.
Prepare Facility for Social Distancing Protocols
There is a reason why businesses have to shut down when the pandemic happened. The office design offers a congested space, so employees bump into each other most of the time. The traditional layout used to be ideal because people have to interact with each other for their tasks. However, pursuing the same office design could endanger employees when they return on-site.
While you might have permission to get employees back to your business establishments, you must avoid taking chances for their health. Social distancing protocols have to remain present inside the office, so you have to adjust employee workspaces. Try to separate desks from each other while creating transparent dividers.
Employees have to feel like they have their private island, ensuring that contamination is minimal inside the workplace. Elevators, bathrooms, and hallways also require social distancing protocols. Your facilities and establishments should remain safe for employees, and maintaining distance can provide relief for both the owner and workers.
Provide Access to Health and Safety Supplies
Despite efforts to maintain social distancing protocols inside the business establishment, employees must be self-aware. They might not be willing to lose their income because of the demands for survival, so they might not have a choice but follow orders to return to the office.
Business owners know that there are still risks just by asking workers to go outside. It is necessary to prioritize safety, which is achievable by arming employees with the best health gear. Try to secure supplies for your workers. Packs must include face masks, hand sanitizers, alcohol, and sprays. Employees should bring their respective gear, but eight hours or more at the office means they might run out.
Once you provide them with free access to the necessary supplies, they can feel more comfortable returning to work on-site. Try to have those items available at their desks, business entry points, and other public areas. You can hire companies like Provisions Supplies to provide you with the health and safety gear in bulk, ensuring that you never run out of inventory.
Limit Interaction Through Digital Means
A traditional office layout is a place for interaction and productivity. Even if there are social distancing protocols in place, employees need to interact to accomplish tasks. Faster communication is one of the benefits of an on-site work arrangement, which could be the reason why you might want to welcome workers back to the office. However, interaction can increase the risk of contamination and spread.
It is necessary to avoid taking health and safety risks, making it essential to limit physical interaction. Fortunately, you can utilize digital means of communication. Your existing telephone system and mobile devices can protect your employees. Email is also available to limit interaction. Try to encourage workers to use those available tools until the situation demands physical communication. Digital channels are already part of business operations before the pandemic, so it is not a challenging adjustment.
Prioritize Mental Health Efforts
Business owners can celebrate the return of on-site employees, but it remains a terrifying situation for employees. While you might be enjoying profits, your workers risk their lives to make ends meet. The pandemic remains a stressful and depressing event, and your employees might not be in their most productive condition.
You have to prioritize employee health, particularly their mental condition. You can provide seminars, create employee motivation content, and other helpful tools and materials for mental health. The efforts are necessary during the troubling time, but you have to be the first to ensure that everything is okay.
Returning on-site marks that your business managed to survive through the pandemic, but it does not mean that the threat is gone. Fortunately, these steps can ensure employee health and safety.