As we move closer to 2021, we are preparing to enter a post-COVID era in regards to workplace policies and employee safety. While we are closer to vaccination than ever before, there’s no denying that the pandemic has had a huge effect on the way we live.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 22% of small business owners have stopped operating by April of 2020, with less than a few coming back. Whether you operate as a small marketing team or a large corporation, you should reconsider your workplace policies for a post-pandemic era these days. Let’s take a look at how you can ensure the safety and health of your employees while also allowing them to do their work properly.
Shift to Remote Workflow (at Least Partially)
Many companies have already spent the majority of 2020 working remotely due to the pandemic. However, until COVID-19 becomes a memory, it might be a good idea to shift your workflow toward remote management for some time. Based on Business 2 Community, 82% of US businesses use remote workflow to improve the work-life balance of their employees. Likewise, 90% of employees stated that working remotely contributed to their morale and productivity, so why not take advantage of it?
You can rely on the dashboard and KPI software to keep tabs on active projects and manage responsibilities without risking the wellbeing of your team. In order to keep your employees safe and to allow for a more flexible workflow, for the time being, consider shifting to remote management.
Mandatory Employee Sanitization
If remote work is not an option, you should turn your attention to health regulations and sanitization of your office space. The World Health Organization has provided businesses with a set of instructions on how to ensure that COVID-19 spread is mitigated as much as possible.
In short, hand sanitization prior to entering the office, as well as minimal physical contact among employees is a priority. You can communicate the new policies via printed instruction cards, safety posters, or through a discussion seminar with everyone present. It’s important that all of your coworkers abide by the post-COVID policies in order to make sure that no one can spread the infection accidentally.
Social Distancing VS Face Masks
When it comes to keeping COVID under control in your office space, there are generally two ways you can go about it. First off, if you have access to spacious, well-lit, and aired office spaces, you can write a policy about how social distancing should be applied. Each of your employees should be at least 5m away from their colleagues and sit at their desk without close contact with others.
This requires discipline, but it’s more comfortable than the alternative – wearing face masks during work hours. Face masks are effective at stopping the spread of COVID, but they are also annoying to wear, especially for 6-8 hours a day. Discuss the topic with your managers and coworkers and choose the option based on your situation.
Limited Business Visitation
Depending on what types of services you provide for your clients, limiting your physical exposure to them may be difficult. However, such a step toward general health and safety should be a priority in the post-COVID era, at least for the time being. Make it your policy that no clients should visit your offices without explicit announcement and good reasons to do so. Subsequently, instruct your coworkers not to go to other companies for business meetings as a precaution against the pandemic.
Melanie Sovann, Chief HR Officer and Writer at GetGoodGrade, said: “We live in a world where remote communication and collaboration is entirely possible – this makes physical contact only a formality. Businesses which focus on cloud-based services such as content writing or SAAS will have an easier time adjusting to this type of precaution. Be smart and act preemptively – protect your staff from unnecessary risk of COVID-19.”
Post-Working Hours Sanitization
Given that your staff will return to the office space every day, basic sanitization of desks, chairs, keyboards, and other items should be a priority. You can work with an outside cleaning agency or, depending on the scale of your business, simply clean everything in a team exercise before leaving.
It is crucial that the hygiene of your workspace is kept at a maximum during the early months of 2021 and before the vaccine rolls out. While we have managed to somewhat stifle the spread of COVID as a society, poor workplace hygiene can lead to a bad situation for everyone.
Isolate Risky Staff Members Preemptively
Your staff will likely consist of people from different age groups and medical profiles, making them more or less susceptible to infection. Be proactive and isolate individuals who are likely to be infected before a situation develops. The US-based CDC has provided businesses with a list of protocols which can help you write a safe workplace policy for your staff more easily.
People with chronic conditions such as respiratory issues, diabetes, and heart conditions should be allowed to work from home or have their own offices. Older coworkers (50+) should also be spared from group contact and unnecessary exposure to potential COVID vectors to keep the workplace safe for them. Remember, such precautions written into your policy are only temporary and serve to bridge the gap between now and whenever global immunity improves during 2021.
Bonus: Organized Medical Checkups
Arguably, the best way to keep your staff safe from COVID and free of unnecessary workplace hassle is by introducing mandatory, organized medical checkups. Get in touch with a local private clinic or a public hospital and discuss the possibilities of having your staff checked for COVID preventively.
Medical checkups are a great employment benefit which many of your coworkers will appreciate, especially given the current situation. If such an initiative is impossible, you should advise your staff to get checked in spare time for their own piece of mind. Look for the fastest way to do so locally and let your staff know how they can do a medical checkup independently.
Workplaces of Tomorrow and their Policies (Conclusion)
Even though we are slowly moving into a post-COVID era in regards to health and safety policies, many changes are here to stay for good. Remote work management has never been so popular, and telecommuting has become the norm for many industries worldwide.
However, that doesn’t mean we should lower our guards and forget that the pandemic ever happened – its presence still lingers as vaccines are rolled out. Keep your workplace safe and place emphasis on the wellbeing of your staff when you write the new policy – they will appreciate your effort.
Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-with-face-mask-looking-at-a-laptop-4240606/