It’s been a long time since most employees have physically gone into an office. The workplace they will eventually return to will be much changed. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing!
Are you considering resuming normal operations? In this article, you’ll find ten post-lockdown tips for employers.
Post Lockdown Tips For Employers
Before discussing the points, let’s quickly check some of the changes that have taken place and will impact our life in the long run:
- Organizations have started establishing a culture of virtual collaboration among the employees as well as their clients using various remote work tools.
- Social distancing is the new normal, and is here to remain until we vaccinate the majority of the population.
- People are more concerned about maintaining personal hygiene for their own safety and also of those around them.
- Employees have been experiencing the ‘joys’ of working from home over the past few months.
Let’s access the ten post-lockdown tips for employers for resuming normal operations.
1. Make sure your workplace is safe and sanitized
As your employees start returning to the workplace, you need to ensure a safe work environment for them. The first step you need to take is to sanitize the workplace regularly.
Make sure that the workstations and most-touched areas of the office are adequately disinfected. Otherwise they can turn into a breeding ground for unwanted germs and viruses.
You should place sanitizers at all entry points so that employees can sanitize their hands from time-to-time. Ensure that face masks and paper tissues are available at your workplaces for those who develop a runny nose or cough at work, along with closed bins for hygienically disposing them off.
Also, take care of social distancing between your employees’ seats. Remember that they should be at least a meter apart and that employees wear masks at all times.
2. Arranging a safe transportation medium for your employees
It’s your job to ensure your employees’ medium of transportation is safe. Whether it is a bus or a cab, different means of transport are hotbeds for viruses and germs because their surfaces contact numerous people.
While employees who prefer their vehicle are safe, it is those who board public transport you should be worried about.
Try to arrange some transportation for people coming from a particular region. This way, the risk of being in contact with viruses will be minimized.
3. Organize informal discussion sessions for ensuring psychological safety
While physical safety must remain your priority, it doesn’t mean you neglect the psychological aspects of wellbeing. The lockdown days, being caged within the four walls of our house, have been really tough. .
Even though your employees have been working for you, chances are they might have felt left out many times. It is also possible that their productivity has been hampered, and they are facing problems and challenges.
What can you do as an employer?
Take all possible measures to ensure that your employees feel psychologically safe while at work.
You can conduct workshops and discussions to ensure your employees’ psychological safety. Arrange a conversation with mental health experts or organize wellness activities at the premises.
4. Minimize business-related travels
Even though the situation appears normal, remind yourself the world is still amidst a pandemic. One of the best things you can do is to minimize any business-related travels.
You’d likely want to reach out to your clients and other business associates personally. But try to resist this temptation and conduct video conferences as much as possible. Unless necessary, avoid sending your employees on business travels that leave them exposed to the virus.
Avoid sending employees who may be at higher risk of serious illness (e.g. older employees and those with medical conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease) to areas where COVID-19 is spreading. Ensure that your employees comply with instructions from local authorities where they are traveling.
5. Form an in-house COVID-19 response team
Form an emergency in-house pandemic response team. Just like you need a quality control team to maintain the organization’s quality of work, the response team will ensure the best virus preventive practices. This team would be responsible for monitoring your employees’ daily health status.
Make your employees aware of the Do’s and Don’ts and help them understand how to handle infected cases at work, if and when there are any.
6. Call in your employees to work in batches
A recent survey finding revealed that 93% employees were anxious about returning to their offices in fear of their health being compromised. Around 73% expected employers to enforce work from home as an ongoing process, while 81% said they would resume going to office only in batches.
Call your employees in batches to the workplace. Group your employees in teams that work together. Then assign them particular days when they must be present in the office. Similarly, you can call the rest of the teams on alternate days.
This will ensure your teams have adequately-distanced seating space and fewer chances of infecting each other.
7. Introduce a workplace wellness program to keep your employees healthy
No matter which industry you’re working in, workplace wellness programs have become the need of the hour for every organization. Having such initiatives will help your employees take up a healthy lifestyle in the long term.
8. Identify employees with respiratory Illnesses or other diseases
Chances are a lot of people in your office might be diabetic or have some respiratory condition. Identify employees with special healthcare requirements.
As a responsible organization, help employees cope with the ongoing pandemic by taking special care of them. Ask them to continue working from home since they are at a greater risk of getting infected.
Keep communicating and promoting the message that people need to stay at home even if they have just mild symptoms of COVID-19.
9. Keep the hiring and onboarding process remote
Hiring and onboarding new employees remain a constant process in the workplace. While it is essential for your organization’s growth, you also need to be more mindful of the pandemic.
Send your new employees regular updates and newsletters about developments in the organization. The more things stay online, the fewer the chances of any unwanted spread of the virus.
10. Be open to flexible working hours
As offices gradually re-open after lockdown, more employers are looking at new ways of working. Flexible working policies suit staff who are anxious about returning to offices while giving breathing space to companies as they introduce new social distancing measures.
Flexible working hours ensure that everyone can work comfortably while putting their best to the task assigned. It shows that you value your employees and help them work at their own pace.
Here are some guidelines:
In-person or virtual health checks
14-day quarantine for infected persons
Clarify that all workers should wear masks
Employees with symptoms to notify their supervisor and stay home
In this article, you’ll find ten post lockdown tips for employers to make the workplace safe.
Taking care of your employees’ mental health is crucial. It’s just as important as reaching project goals and maintaining productivity. Read this guide on how to take care of their mental health.
– Surfaces (e.g., desks and tables) and objects (e.g., telephones, keyboards) need to be wiped with disinfectant regularly.
– Put sanitizing hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the workplace. Make sure these dispensers are regularly refilled.
– Ensure that face masks and/or paper tissues are available at your workplaces.
The above were a few points that I believe every employer should consider for keeping everyone safe in the workplace during the post lockdown period.
Do you have any other suggestions? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.