COVID-19 has changed the landscape of the world. During its surge the mandate was to self-quarantine in order to flatten the curve, and now that most places have moved on to their respective phases for re-opening, the question is: how to return to work with the new normal?
Here are 3 tips on what to consider and tools on how to prepare you for the return to work.
Stay at home or go to the workplace? That’s the dilemma in a lot of people’s minds. We each are different and live under different circumstances, but the primary concern is safety. Quarantine highlighted the fact that certain roles could be done from home, and if you are able to continue working from home effectively then do so. But for some there is a desire to be out and around people.
No matter the size of your company, both of these perspectives must be accommodated under the new normal. Determine the essential workers from the non-essential ones, as this will help guide who is needed in the workplace immediately and who can come later. It is very important to also ask who feels safe returning?
To ease the minds of all your co-workers you have to clearly establish and communicate all the health and safety protocols moving forward.
Health & Safety Protocols
Governments have provided business with an extremely detailed guideline on the procedures that must be put in place in order to ensure a safe return to the workplace. But here are two of the most important ones to keep in mind:
Social Distancing: within the workplace it is a must to establish physical distancing measures. The specific way in which this will be arranged depends on your workplace, but workers should always stay 2 meters or 6 feet apart and it is recommended to have visible indicators reminding people of this, either on the floor or on the walls or both. Consider installing physical barriers if necessary.
This connects to bathroom use as well, meaning that only one person should be allowed in the bathroom at a time. If applicable, add signage showing one door as the entrance and the other as the exit. This can be for the bathroom, but also for the entire workplace itself.
Welcome Back Kit: this kit should include PPE and disinfecting supplies. Wearing masks must be mandatory for everyone, whether it is the one you provide or one that your co-workers bring themselves. They should also disinfect their workspace regularly, but especially prior to starting work and before leaving.
Self Assessment Tools
There are self assessment tools and apps available both on your browser and phone, which take you through a step-by-step list of symptoms. Using these tools and checking yourself prior to leaving your home is highly recommended to ensure your safety and that of your co-workers. Please check your government sites for the most reliable self-assessment tools.
Going back to work can be scary, but with the proper health safety protocols in place as well as a clear communication among everyone where we are all working together, we can ensure a smooth and secure return.
We are living under a new normal as a result of COVID-19 and while we have been dealt a big blow, it is a testament to our resilience that we have been able to adapt and continue to push forward. Please remember to wash your hands.