As we find ourselves in the midst of the worst health crisis in a century, it’s hard to know what’s coming next. Many of us have been laid off or forced to work from home for weeks or even months, and now that parts of the country are starting to reopen, transitioning back into a traditional work setting can be unnerving.
Preparing your company to safely accommodate employees as they return is the best way to ensure that everyone stays safe and healthy throughout the process. The following are some ideas on ways to help employees return to the workplace safely.
No matter what industry you work in, personal protective equipment must be provided for employees working at all levels of the company. This is the best way to keep all customers and workers as safe as possible. Management should purchase PPE in bulk to ensure that everyone remains safe for the long term.
Items to procure include hand soap, disinfectant spray, masks, disposable gloves, and hand sanitizer. And since proper hand hygiene has proven to reduce absenteeism at work by up to 40%, you may also want to station hand sanitizer dispensers in various areas, so they’re easily accessible to employees and customers alike.
Make Necessary Modifications
It’s important that you keep your facility as clean and germ-free as possible. Although there’s no foolproof method for preventing the spread of the virus, there’s plenty you can do to minimize the risk for everyone who enters your business. This could involve taking such steps as:
Conducting professional inspections ( paying special attention to the ventilation and HVAC systems) to make sure the building is safe and well ventilated
Remodeling and renovating high-traffic areas to ensure the office complies with social-distancing guidelines
Installing barriers and/or markings to signal distancing requirements
Create New Occupancy Standards
No matter how clean and sanitary your company may be, having too many people in a confined space can undermine your safety efforts. Adopt a work schedule for your employees that curbs their numbers to allow for sufficient social distancing, and restrict the number of customers who can be inside your place of business at one time.
Many businesses are limiting how many customers can enter by assigning an employee to watch the doors and making new customers wait in line until others have exited. This allows everyone to walk around comfortably while also maintaining a safe distance from others.
Prepare Your Restrooms
Are your restrooms safe and sanitary? Now is the time to make sure! Check to see that all your facility’s faucets and soap dispensers work properly. You also may want to add hands-free soap, paper towel, and hand sanitizer dispensers to ensure that everyone is able to clean and disinfect their hands in ways that are efficient and safe.
If you manage a company with high bathroom use, you may need to rent some porta-potties until the pandemic has subsided. This can help reduce traffic in the bathrooms, which are often among a building’s most germ-filled areas.
With the increased focus on hygiene in response to the pandemic, it’s important to keep all restrooms sanitized on a strict schedule — and inform workers that they’re routinely cleaned. (It’s good for morale.)
Build Company Credit
As a manager or business owner, when it comes to keeping your finances in order, the pressure is on. During the pandemic, many companies have been forced to lay off and furlough employees. This isn’t just a problem for your employees, but also it can threaten your credibility and even your ability to keep your doors open.
Start by making sure your books are balanced and your business credit is in good standing. Check to see what your options are, should you need to take out loans, apply for grants or relief, or take other steps to keep your company afloat until business returns to normal. This will ensure that you’re able to pay employees, vendors, etc., even if you’re finding it difficult to generate revenue.
There’s plenty you can do to make sure your employees are able to return to work safely. These suggestions should help you ensure that everyone who works for and visits your company remains as safe and healthy as possible.