As governments ease months-long restrictions allowing employees to return to their offices, the new reality is that these places won’t be the same as we left them. The new normal will entail increasingly structured workplaces that are more mindful of potential physical contamination. For the foreseeable future, there will be new routines and procedures that we will need to enforce and become accustomed to, seemingly normal ways of doing things that need to be shifted in order to protect team members from potential infection of the notorious virus.
So how do you address these new workplace hazards and different working environments for your team members?
Here are 8 Considerations for Reducing risk for Your Workers in a COVID-19 Environment:
1. Know Your Government Guidelines:
The first order of business must be to determine what federal, provincial and local rules you must follow, educating yourself – and your team – about the financial and reputational consequences of any compliance failures.
- Meet with the management team to determine how these rules will impact your workplace.
- As you’ll read later, there will need to be a plan in place to communicate government rules in this new workplace.
2. Consider a Phased Approach
When welcoming staff back to the office, consider the phased approach so that the entire team does not return to the office at once, possibly increasing risks of contamination.
- Look at allowing those with children to return later since that daycares and schools may not be open.
- Also, consider allowing some staff to remain working from home on certain days or permanently.
3. Evaluate the Risk s at Your Workplace:
When welcoming back your team to the workplace, assess any potential situation where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is possible. Ask these questions:
- What surfaces are regularly touched like doorknobs, printers, lights switches and water coolers?
- Which tasks are required of workers to come into close contact with each other?
- Where does your team meet like conference rooms, kitchens, and/or printer/scanner areas?
- What sort of greetings and customs could put your team at risk like shaking hands?