As states lift stay at home orders and begin various levels of re-opening during the COVID-19 pandemic, many workplaces are considering their plan for bringing their people back into the workplace. This can leave a lot of critical decision-making up to individual businesses, which can be overwhelming. Assuming that your business is complying with any local, state and federal orders, the next step is to determine whether you’re ready to re-open and the best path for doing so. Creating a COVID-19 Task Force of employees who understand the implications of reopening across your organization can help to guide you on the following steps.
From riding the elevator to coming into contact with high-touch areas like doorknobs and supply drawers, think through how your team members are going to be interacting with the physical space in your workplace to determine how best to keep them safe.
Create a cleaning and disinfecting plan. This will help you feel prepared and let employees know that you are committed to their safety. Our complimentary training course on Cleaning & Disinfecting Community Spaces from our Coronavirus Resource Center will help define the differences between cleaning and disinfecting and help you identify best practices for both using recommendations from the CDC. Providing adequate supplies, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for your employees to use is crucial to helping them follow protocol and feel safe and comfortable.
Think through the physical space of your office. You might want to rework or eliminate access to areas where employees may not be able to practice physical distancing, such as break rooms, gyms or cafeterias. Controlling entry points and shared tools like conference room phones and tech is important to consider as well.
Ensure your workplace safety program is updated and clearly communicated. If you need a starting point, check out these 5 Steps To Create A Best-in-Class Workplace Safety Program. Then, communicate this information to your employees and let them know how to report back if they see an area that needs revisiting.
Embrace the cube farm. As much as cubicles have become part of corporate humor, safety points to providing physical barriers for our employees. In some cases, workplaces are raising the height of cubicle plexiglass or walls to practice physical distancing while continuing to use video conferencing to avoid in-person meetings and gatherings.
Create a travel policy. Consider your approach to business travel and whether you can restrict all non-essential travel until the travel industry is less impacted.
Once you’ve determined your facility is ready to re-open, think through how your employees will be interacting with each other and their workspace.
Who needs to be on site? Who is essential as an onsite team member? Do certain team members need to access the office before others do? Consider staggered shifts for those that do need to come in. A resource management tool like our cloud-hosted employee scheduling tool can help schedule employees time securely and allow for off site employee access.
Share physical distancing guidelines. It can be hard to set boundaries when it comes to high-fiving or hugging people we haven’t seen in awhile, or shaking hands with clients. Set expectations so your workforce doesn’t have to take that on themselves. Need ideas? Here are the CDC guidelines for social distancing and 14 alternatives to shaking hands.
Train your team on face mask recommendations & best practices. Whether you require face cloth coverings or simply encourage and educate, make sure your teams know how to protect themselves as best as possible on site. Check out our free training course on the Center for Disease Control guidelines for cloth face coverings as well as tutorials on how to make them.
Enforcing your guidelines and tracking daily health inspections can feel overwhelming. Our complimentary webinar, Monitoring Your Agency’s Health During The COVID-19 Crisis, references our TargetSolutions Check It™ application, but can be helpful to learn how to customize your organization’s protocol for daily checks.
For a training resource to educate your employees on how to check for and recognize symptoms, check out our complimentary training video on Identifying and Recognizing COVID-19 symptoms in our Coronavirus Resource Center.
Consider mental health, too. Understandably, shifting back to working onsite may have a mental toll on your workforce. We offer a complimentary course on how to manage these intense experiences and reduce their impact on your employees. Our complimentary training course on Managing Stress & Anxiety During the Coronavirus can help you and your loved ones identify and reduce stress during this difficult time.
There are no easy answers right now. All any of us can do is to utilize the information coming from trustworthy sources like the CDC to create a clear, defined plan designed to protect your team members. As this situation continues to develop, know that we are ready to help you and provide support wherever we can. Visit our Coronavirus Resource Center for complimentary trainings and resources.