The coronavirus pandemic has remarkably changed workplaces and how people work. At some point in 2020, more than half of the global workforce was working remotely. However, life is slowly returning to normal and people are getting back into the office. During this reopening phase, businesses have to prioritize the health of their employees, customers and other stakeholders. So what can you do to create a safe workplace again?
MAKE ROOM FOR SOCIAL DISTANCING
Maintaining physical distance helps to limit the spread of coronavirus. To ensure employees practice social distancing, consider redesigning your office to change the way people navigate throughout the space. Spacing out desks and other furniture will also help to create a safe office layout. This will ensure there is enough space between employees, effectively minimizing physical contact.
REPURPOSE COMMUNAL SPACES
Many people may opt not to use communal spaces in the office in an effort to promote social distancing. However, repurposing employee lounges, cafeterias and conference rooms can help you create a safe workplace. Consider using these areas as temporary workspaces so that your employees spread out. Investing in no-touch amenities will also go a long way in helping you prepare for a return to the office.
HAVE DESIGNATED HAND-WASHING AND SANITIZING STATIONS
In addition to social distancing, keeping hands clean helps to slow down the spread of the virus. To encourage your employees and visitors to practice good hand hygiene, you should increase hand-washing and sanitizing stations. You may also want to have cleaning and disinfecting routines to help maintain a clean environment. Creating temperature-checking stations will enable you to conduct in-person health checks of employees and your visitors.
OPEN WINDOWS RATHER THAN USING AIR CONDITIONING
Proper ventilation will help to improve indoor air quality and mitigate the spread of the virus in the office space. Instead of using air conditioners and heaters, you should open the windows in the office for climate control. Because these devices recirculate the air, they can contribute to the transmission of viral particles from one part of the office to another. Opening windows will promote free flow of air, effectively preventing the circulation of germs and pathogens.
MAKE THE MOST OF SIGNAGE
Even with proper preventive measures in place, people may lower their guard over time. There is a chance employees will start gathering in communal spaces, shaking hands or stop wearing masks. When opening up the office, you can add signs throughout the workplace to remind staff and visitors alike to remain vigilant. This will go a long way in encouraging everyone to play their part to keep the workspace safe.
CONSIDER A HYBRID WORKPLACE
When planning to return to the office, you will need to be innovative if you are to protect your employees. A hybrid workplace that consists of both in-office and remote work will ensure there are fewer people in the building at any given time, effectively preventing crowding. Consider adopting a shift work schedule where some employees work from home while others work in the office. Apart from enabling you to maintain a safe workspace, a hybrid workplace will ensure you adhere to the set out health and safety guidelines.
INVEST IN THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY
Technology can play a critical role in helping you open up the office safely. Today, there are numerous tools that you can use to promote communication and collaboration among your employees while minimizing physical contact. This will allow you to get back into the office safely and boost employee productivity. However, you must ensure you choose the right solution for your needs and requirements.
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