How Has Social Distancing Created a New Normal for Businesses?
Regardless of company size or industry, COVID-19 has altered the way everyone does business. Even now, as companies begin to reopen their doors, many individuals are hesitant about returning to a physical workplace. Social distancing has saved lives during this pandemic, and it can be modified to apply to the business world. Through proper employee training and adaptation, your staff will be comfortable at work again and as productive as always.
How Can Employers Protect Staff & Clients?
Many employees are experiencing re-entry anxiety due to COVID-19’s continued expression. Focusing on their well-being will ease many of these anxieties and make employees feel valued. There are many steps an employer can take to help their employees feel comfortable returning to their work environment.
- Develop elevator capacity policies – no more than 4 people or one group;
- Reconfigure seating arrangements to account for social distancing mandates;
- Add clear plastic barriers to separate employees who sit too close or a front desk employee from visitors;
- Rethink schedules, so fewer employees are populating a single area, especially in smaller offices;
- Temperature checks for those employees who come into contact with customers on a regular basis;
- Make hand sanitizer dispensers and cleaning supplies readily available for both employees and customers;
- Establish flexible work-from-home and sick leave policies;
- Clean high-touch areas four (4) times a day and restrooms two (2) twice a day with antibacterial wipes;
- Schedule professional cleanings twice a week, and;
- Provide face shields to employees who have a respiratory condition or who may have a harder time breathing with a mask on. Hawaii law states employees, customers, and children over 5 years of age must wear masks when entering a business.
Employers should provide a virtual re-entry employee training seminar. Employees will learn proper safety guidelines in light of COVID-19 and be able to ask questions to ensure they feel their safety is your first priority.
Managers should also receive training on spotting and interacting with individuals who may feel isolated due to these new procedures. They will learn how to reach out to the staff empathetically while remaining social distant.
How Should Companies React to an Outbreak?
If an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, the business may not need to shut down. However, areas visited or touched by the individual should be closed for 24 hours, and the company should be professionally disinfected. All employees who came in contact with the employee who diagnosed should consult their physicians and get tested if needed.
What Is Likely to Happen After COVID-19?
People have a greater understanding now of the importance of hygiene and public health (both physical and mental). Consulting with a human resources agency will prepare business owners and managers for the task of keeping their employees updated on safety precautions while not compromising their morale. Employees who are informed and are aware of the steps being taken to secure their health will be less uneasy about returning.