The Covid-19 lockdown has disrupted our work-life in a way we have never seen before. While most people around the world work from home, the problem is being faced by daily wage workers and those in industries where remote work is not possible.
As the lockdown is slowly lifting, some of the companies have started to resume their work from office while some companies are still planning when and how they can resume working from the office.
But even for those working professionals like us who have the luxury of working at home, the thought of returning to work in an office is a little overwhelming, even if we can’t wait to move back to our favorite workspace after more than a month.
The main concern of all of them is how to maintain a healthy work environment while working from the office. After all, readjusting to office desks will not be easier for all after such a long gap. The lockdown hasn’t been easier on anyone and it’s necessary to make the workspace comfortable to work. A wise business will surely take ample of precautionary measures to ensure the safety of its employees and ways to keep them motivated.
Most importantly, since the lockdown was so severe it will be a challenging task to get businesses up and running smoothly again.
Here are several ideas to get back to work after COVID-19 lockdown for getting the team up and boosting workplace productivity:
#1 The Settlement
Maintain social distance with desks by keeping off at least 6 feet away from each other. Some are already working on a plan for such emergencies that can occur in the future.
If you still don’t have a plan in place, it is a good idea to make it for the future and today.
The emergency plan outlines not just the actions an organization should take in those situations but also the measures to be taken to protect the staff and companies.
Create norms that will provide details such as employee security measures, emergency numbers, company processes and any deliverable measures.
#2 Psychological Safety
Lockdown has been really tough for everyone. It felt like we are trapped inside the four walls of the house. At the same time, all of us have got some extra time to spend with our families while working simultaneously. Coming out of this lockdown is not easy for anyone of us, because the horror of the pandemic is still there. This will impact the productivity of your employees in the workplace. Thus, all possible measures should be taken to ensure the psychological safety of your workers.
To do this, you can arrange a formal discussion with the health experts while at the same time educating your team about the disease and cheering them up from this distress.
#3 Workplace Sanitization
For all that is going on to ensure employee happiness and expectation, companies will need to periodically sanitize the workplace. Establish operational cleanliness and sanitation procedures. Ask the cleaners to use alcohol-based disinfectants as these are proven to be an effective way of killing germs and viruses from the surfaces.
Stock up on hand sanitizers and place them in every corner possible, issue instructions and print outs recommending hand washing methods and use soap. Make sure that all these essentials are refilled from time to time.
Ask your employees to take leave if they are ill. Ensure that not even a single unwell employee is coming to the office. Doing this will keep them as well as others safe from any risks.
Instruct all the staff members to cover their mouth and nose using a face mask and strictly follow the respiratory etiquettes while coughing or sneezing.
#4 Check-in Methods
If you still have the thumbprint for door access, it’s time to knock off immediately. Implement a contact-less check-in method such as motion-detection check-ins, bar code scan check-ins using an identity card, etc.
Some devices allow entry and exit without touching the door-handles. It has automatic door-openers; therefore the check-in will be hands-free. Start implementing such advanced technologies for daily activities at the workplace to ensure the wellbeing of your employees.
# 5 Social Distancing is a Must
Although the team productivity must remain constant at the same time, you have to make sure that social distancing is maintained and adapt it as the ‘new normal’ for your business. There might be some relaxation for the lockdown but remember, the virus is still there. Thus, till the time there is no vaccine or treatment out for the virus, social distancing needs to be followed – not only at the desks but also during lunch breaks and meetings. Make some extra space in the cafeteria and ensure that the food is being handled with protective measures.
# 6 Shift Rotations
The coronavirus effect will be there for a while. This means that companies will no longer function as it used to before, but carry the ‘new normal’ into the current situation. It means, when there is a space shortage, managers need to arrange a shift-based or rotational work strategy where a part of the team works from the workplace and the rest from home. The distribution can, therefore, be minimized and everyone’s health assured.
You might already have come across the term “Fomites” – the objects that are obvious to spread the virus when someone touches it or comes in contact with it. Public transportation is one of those hotspots for fomites.
Those who are using their own vehicle for traveling to the office are comparatively safer but those who rely on public transport can become the victims or carriers of the virus. Therefore, arrange a medium for those employees that rely on public transport for coming to the office. This will reduce the risk of them coming in contact with the infections.
#8 Raise Awareness within Your Team
Not all your staff members will feel safe to work from office even if the lockdown is lifted. Those who still prefer to work from home might be scared while some of them might dare to step out by taking precautionary measures. All the steps for prevention must be addressed in advance before they start working from the office. Explain that the workplace is being sanitized regularly and that everything related to hygiene is been taken care of. Create an environment that will burst their stress and can freely talk their heart out without being judged. This activity necessarily does not need to be only work-related but can be carried out informally as well.
#9 Cut-Down Travels
Travel is another medium that causes the spread of the coronavirus. Knock off any business-related travels in your organization. As said, social distancing and lockdown are the only solutions to stop the spread of this virus. Thus, you must ensure that all the collaborations must be carried out online to mitigate any risks of the spread. This will not only help in good efficiency but also help companies bring down their expenses and be future-ready.
A lot of businesses have already collapsed during the COVID-19 lockdown and with every time that passes by, everybody is wondering when they can go back to their routine life. Asking everyone to stay at home may look like a harsh decision but that was necessary to control the spreading of this virus. Even if the lockdown is lifted the risks of the virus will still be there unless the vaccine is released. In the end, our safety is in our hands.
Above were some ways that can be followed by businesses for the safety of their employees once you resume back to work. It’s very important to ensure the safety and health of your employees, thus encouraging them to work from the office without any fears. The employees can only be productive if they feel secure while working from the office.
If you have some more tips to add to the above list or any safety concerns that we may have missed out, do mention it in the comments below.