Many companies have sent their employees home, some have completely switched to remote work, and some have tried to make the best of both worlds and blend them into a safe strategy. Ideally, the pandemic will help us learn a number of valuable lessons, but in the meantime, business owners have to find creative ways to maintain their workflow, keep their employees, avoid making cuts, and continue making their customers happy. The key to all those goals is business-wide health through safety precautions and preventative measures already implemented world-wide. For companies that have worked only remotely in the past few weeks and are now looking to slowly go back to their offices, this can be your guide to simplify the transition. Follow these tips and you’ll make sure that your employees are safe every day and you’ll simultaneously reduce the spread of COVID-19 with simple, but effective precautions to keep you all healthy and stress-free.
Air quality and ventilation
With the summer almost in full bloom and the weather bringing more hot days, the AC is something of a dream-come-true for every office. Alas, with the pandemic still putting your employees at risk, you need to find better, more effective solutions to keep your offices fresh and cool and all of your adjacent rooms ventilated properly. Innovative filters and ventilation systems in every facility should increase office air quality, and reduce the chances of virus transmission at the office. It’s vital to keep evaluating the situation on a regular basis and to update existing filters and ventilation to mee the new standards of prevention.
Preventative essentials for your employees
Just like you should do your best as the leader to keep your workers safe, you also need to educate your employees about individual responsibility and provide them with the necessary tools. Every office needs to provide a surgical mask to each employee, so as to reduce the possibility of transmission through sneezing or coughing when you’re having a meeting. Stock up on soap and various hand sanitizers, and place them strategically in every room of your office and wherever people typically spend more time interacting or touching items such as tablets, whiteboards, kitchen surfaces, and the like. This type of protection also gives them peace of mind, and raises awareness of preventative practices they should follow while at the office.
Elevating office hygiene
Many business owners firmly believe that their existing cleaning strategy works well enough. Think again, and you’ll quickly understand why so many health workers are spending their time in hazmat suits and completely protected – the virus is highly contagious, and you should make your office as clean as possible to limit exposure at any given moment. First of all, you can introduce approved disinfectants for various types of surfaces, and give your cleaning staff specific instructions as to how often they should clean frequently-touched surfaces throughout the office. You can also check if the company you’re using has any experience with cleaning during the pandemic, and if they already know best practices to keep your space clean and safe for your staff.
Handle your office layout and space
Social distancing is somewhat of a new concept for most societies, and while we’re still getting used to eliminating handshakes and fist-bumps from our daily lives, companies need to make sure that people also have more space. Simply avoiding greetings won’t do much, and if you don’t have cubicles that provide actual, physical barriers between your workers, you need to change your office layout. The number of desks, chairs, lounging furniture, and other amenities needs to be lower, and so does the number of your staff at the office at any given time. Perhaps they can work in shifts or alternate days, but the key here is to reduce close interactions and make sure the office sticks to those limited numbers of people in any closed space. This particular step is beneficial for your employees’ peace of mind as much as it is necessary for the survival of your business.
Voice-activated devices over touch-screen tools
Automation is far from a new concept, since AI and machine learning have started playing a major role in practically every aspect of running a business. However, with so much tackled by technology and machines, we’ve never stopped to think about those mundane interactions we have with our everyday objects. Take elevators as an example of something that everyone needs to touch, inevitably spreading germs of all kinds – and the virus might be just one of them. Now, if we’ve integrated IoT into our homes to transform them into smart spaces that respond to our voices, we can likely do the same for the vast majority of offices. One at a time, your office equipment can be integrated into your business network and your employees can give out voice commands rather than use their hands for every print-out or conference call they need to make. In the midst of the crisis, businesses can find ways to thrive and enable their employees a safe space to continue being productive members of the society. This mindset will help restore the economy and ensure that more companies are able to withstand the financial pressures imposed by the pandemic, which will in turn contribute to more community awareness and better care among individuals. Sharing responsibility starts at the office, so use this guide to go back to the new normal and protect your staff.