Most business influencers and professionals indicate that boosting both customer and employee confidence will greatly help businesses reopen successfully and help to revive the economy in a sustained manner. Due to the dangers to the health of the public for the last three months, and the financial losses for companies across the country, there are likely to be drastic changes in the business conditions going forward.
Business owners and management helping their company recover from Coronavirus pandemic and its resulting recession must take precautions to ensure the workplace environment is safe for employees and business associates like suppliers, contractors, visitors and clients. Companies who don’t want the threat of closing down again must function without adversely affecting confidence or health.
Major Concerns for Employers
– Workers may be nervous about returning to the workplace since they do not know what to expect. While preparing the business for returning employees, employers may realize that some essential employees are suffering from high risk health conditions and as a consequence their workspace or their role may have to be adjusted. Since employees may ask if there is any testing such as temperature screening for the virus, employers should have a plan to handle these queries.
– Vendors and customers may find it risky to visit the business’ premises, or they may not be familiar with virtual meetings. In some cases, a business may have limited infrastructure, and cannot deal with a large number of people digitally.
While the painful news spirals around us daily, it is challenging to accurately predict when the economy will recover, the pandemic will fade away and what adjustments will be required in the ‘new normal.’ But companies can take some steps to be better prepared to recoup lost business when most restrictions are lifted.
9 Steps for Successfully Reopening after the Pandemic Recedes
Businesses should try to make workers and customers confident that the business workplace is safe. This includes changing the work environment physically, altering acceptable behavior, or changing the way the business functions. Some tips are listed below:
1. Prevent Personal Contact
Make rules so that there is no personal contact , to limit handshakes, hugging, avoid meeting in closed spaces or other physical contact which is not necessary
2. No Object Sharing
Though all businesses may not be able to provide separate work tools or equipment for each employee, these items should be shared as little as possible. Inexpensive items like pens, notebooks, staplers, file folders, computers, and markers should be assigned to each employee and not used by others. Other expensive items need a cleaning regimen (See 7).
3. Rules for Facemask Usage
Most states have specified rules or guidance for using face-masks and these rules should be considered by employers while devising relevant rules for their own business. If you have an employee handbook, don’t forget it should be updated with these rules, and employees should also be informed.
4. Rearrange the Workplace
The floor plan of the workplace will often need to be modified to conform to the new social distancing norms. To ensure that the distance between workers, visitors and customers is at least 6 feet, desks may have to be rearranged, work stations staggered, spaces reconfigured and partitions added where feasible.
5. Eliminating Gathering Areas
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, employees shared lounges, break rooms, kitchens, and now there should be a 6 feet distance between users of these facilities if the common areas are still available. Hence people should gather together mainly outdoors for meetings, since indoors the virus infection is more likely to spread.
6. Hand Sanitizing
Businesses will have to invest money in taking safety precautions like making hand sanitizers readily available, so that customers and workers continue to trust. If the workers or customers feel that the workplace is unsafe, customers may not come back or employees may be disgruntled and performance suffers.
7. Cleaning Rules for Multi-User Equipment
If the workplace has expensive equipment used by multiple people such as photocopy machines, business related tools, machinery or even gym equipment, it is advisable to post detailed instructions for cleaning the equipment after each use, so that the users remain safe.
8. Limiting the People in a Room
If is necessary to ensure that a discussion or meeting remains confidential, the employer should consider the following options:
- Discussions should be held in a room which is large enough, so that each person can maintain a distance of 6 feet from others.
- Hold the meeting online using web conference to reduce direct exposure, even though participants may be in the same facility.
- Check the size of each meeting room to determine the maximum number of people who can be accommodated and still maintain a safe distance. Update the room signs with this information, so that employees do not unintentionally make mistakes in arranging how many can attend the meeting.
9. Changing Work Schedules
Typically businesses were working from 8 am to 5 pm (or 9-5) daily, yet these timings may have to be adjusted to reduce interaction. Businesses with different work schedules may also have to change their working hours or work in shifts to minimize the number of workers in their facility at any one time.
If your organization is planning any of these steps, why not give Flexicrew a call to tap our experience in working with many companies, some tips we’ve learned and what might be suitable for your situation.