Because of the global pandemic the world is now living with, the world of work is going to have to change too. There are lots of things that need to be taken into account as workplaces start to open up again, and health and safety is understandably at the top of many entrepreneurs’ lists. There are many ways to improve health and safety and to prevent the spread of the virus.
If you’re going to be reopening your business soon and welcoming back your employees, it’s vital to ensure it’s done in a safe and protective way. Going back to life as it was previously is not an option and not something that should be considered. Instead, it’s time to prepare and make changes so that everyone will be safe when working for and interacting with your business.
To find out how to get this right and adapt properly in terms of health and safety, you should read on and learn about the tips and advice outlined below.
Supply Access to Soap, Water and Sanitizer
The first thing you’re going to need to do is supply your workforce with access to basic things. Of course, this is something that should have been happening anyway, but it’s something that you can’t get away with overlooking in our new Covid-19 reality. It’s more important than ever to ensure hot water and soak are available to use throughout the day by all members of your team. It’s also a good idea to provide access to cleaning wipes for desks and office items, as well as hand sanitizer that everyone is free to use.
Carry Out Risk Assessments
It’s also a good idea to start the process of carrying out regular risk assessments in your business. Since the pandemic, the nature of the risks your business and its employees face are very different. This is a whole new situation that poses a new threat and you need to be ready to mitigate those risks if you’re going to reopen your workplace. By carrying out risk assessments regularly, you’ll get a clear view of what the risks are and how well you’re mitigating and limiting them each day. That’s something that’ll be very important.
Make Space for Distancing
It’s important to think about the layout of your workplace because you’re soon going to be dealing with the reality of social distancing. This is something that will have to be looked at on a case to case basis, but the general advice is to maintain social distancing measures as far as possible, even when returning to the workplace. Creating more space between desks in the office is important and using the space you have in creative ways in order to allow for social distancing is wise too.
Consider Flexible Working
One thing that can help your business and its employees deal with the new reality is to allow for more flexible working. This is something that is being recommended and many businesses are adopting it. It’s easier than ever for your employees to work from home in a sustainable way. They can be available via the internet and discuss things on video call. If you need that extra space in the office and you have people who can easily work from home without any real disruption, it’s something worth considering.
Create Barriers When Interacting with the Public
If your business is a customer-facing one, you should take extra steps to ensure there’s some sort of protective barrier between the customers and your stuff. This is already something that’s been implemented in many stores, and it’s worth thinking about if you haven’t put anything in place yet. Those barriers will offer comfort to your employees as well as your customers. It might seem like a drastic step and even quite antisocial, but it’s something that’s definitely worth doing.
Put in Place Measures to Support People with Mental Health Struggles
One of the things that often gets neglected when discussing the impact of the virus on all of us and all of our lives is the mental health impact it has. We all know how much of a physical impact it can have, but it can also be difficult to deal with from a mental health point of view as well. You should do what you can to make sure that you offer support for your employees if they’re struggling with their mental health as a result of everything that’s going on at the moment.
New Cleaning Procedures
It’s a good idea to put new clearing processes and procedures in place in your workplace as soon as possible. When you use the kinds of products you can find at Big Clean, this becomes a lot easier. You might also want to hire new cleaners who can ensure your workplace is always disinfected and as clean as it possibly can be. This will lower the risk level in your workplace and make it much more difficult for any kinds of germs or viruses to spread if they ever are present in the office or workplace.
Create Schemes to Encourage Active Commuting
One way in which you can reduce the likelihood of the virus spreading in your workplace and spreading in general is to create schemes that encourage your employees to travel to and from work in healthier ways. Cities around the world are improving cycling infrastructure, so maybe you could put in place an employer cycling scheme to encourage people to do this. Public transport might increase the spread of the virus so you might want your employees to avoid that option as far as possible for now.
Pay Special Attention to Employees in High Risk Groups
There are some people who will be at higher risk of complications and problems as a result of Covid-19 than others. Because of that, you’ll need to create policies that enable you to look after people and grant them permission to work in isolation or from home where possible. It’s a difficult situation for everyone but there shouldn’t be a one size fits all approach because there are different levels of risk faced by different people. It’s something you should at least dedicate some time to thinking about and working on.
Ensure Strong Hygiene Measures with Suppliers and Third Party Colleagues
The strongest hygiene measures should be insisted on in your workplace, and that doesn’t just apply to your employees. There might also be other people such as suppliers and people from other companies that you’re working with or even clients coming in and out of your workplace every day. When that’s the case, you should make sure that you maintain hygiene standards and make it clear to people what’s expected. Considering what’s going on in the world, the chances are they’ll understand where you’re coming form with those rules.
Keep Meetings in Enclosed Spaces Relatively Short
When you’re holding meetings in relatively small meeting rooms, it makes sense to keep them as short and sharp as possible. You should try to avoid putting on meetings that last for longer than around 15 minutes because when people around each other for longer than that, the risk of the virus spreading between people simply gets greater. So if you’re going to be meeting in enclosed spaces, only do it when it’s absolutely necessary and try to keep it as short as possible.
Provide the Right PPE
It’s up to you to provide the right kind of PPE for your employees, and that’s always been the case. However, it’s obviously now more important than ever to get this right if you can. It’s a good idea to encourage your team to use face masks in the workplace and you could provide these for your team if possible. And the same applies to any other kinds of personal protective equipment that might help them to stay safe when they’re doing their jobs on a day to day basis. Which PPE they need will obviously differ depending on the nature of their jobs.
Create a Strategy for Dealing with Absences
From your business’s perspective, you’re going to need to plan out how you’re going to deal with absences. For as long as this virus is a problem, there’s going to be people becoming unwell or having to take time off to look after relatives who are unwell. That’s something that businesses should really plan for and have a system for dealing with. You’ll be able to deal with it much better if you have a plan for what would happen in the event of any one person’s absence. It’s tricky, but forward planning certainly helps.
The world has changed pretty rapidly and as workplaces start to open, a renewed focus will need to be placed on all matters regarding health and safety. The tips and ideas above will help you to manage the threats better and protect your workforce going forward. And, of course, nothing is more important than that.