With the recent healthcare crisis, businesses around the world increased their work-from-home rate from 5 percent to 90 percent in just a few days. As offices slowly begin to re-open, employees will be making their way back into the office, but we will all be adjusting to a new normal. New procedures should be developed, implemented, and communicated to sustain a clean and safe workplace.
As companies prepare to transition their employees out of remote work and into the office, staff should be educated on new work protocols and procedures. Providing a detailed relaunch plan in response to COVID-19 guidelines and setting expectations for employee behavior will help with a safe and efficient return to full operations.
At our own facilities, we’re focused on supporting customers with the safety resources they need by sourcing PPE and providing restoration services. This article includes some recommended best practices that we are implementing to keep our employees safe as businesses re-open.
With transparent communication and expanded protection, employees will feel comfortable returning to work and know what steps need to be taken in any circumstance.
A Relaunch Plan Starts With Facility Readiness
A detailed relaunch plan is a valuable resource to provide employees with before returning to the office. A relaunch plan is a map that will guide business efforts, evaluate high-impact market conditions, reassess ongoing projects, and provide expectations when returning to work. This plan may include proper hygiene practices, reopening scenarios, updated schedules, and a recovery timeline.
Upon employee arrival to the facility, the following preparation and supplies should be readily available:
- Full facility disinfection
- Disinfectant, hand sanitizer, and hand soap
- Appropriate PPE
- Floor signage or indicators to space out staff and visitors
Develop and Communicate Hygiene Protocols
If you are healthy and at work, it’s important to develop and communicate hygiene protocols. Businesses should encourage employees to practice the following behaviors:
- Social distancing of six feet or three meters
- Frequently wash hands for at least 20 seconds
- Clean and disinfect work areas, frequently touched items, break areas, meeting rooms, and restrooms
- Avoid sharing pens and tools
- Daily temperature screening upon arrival
Outline What Staff Should Do If Symptoms Arise
If an employee feels symptomatic for COVID-19 at work, they should know to contact their supervisor immediately. Management can identify a designated area for potential cases to await pickup and further diagnosis. During this time, the symptomatic employee should:
- Immediately exit the work area
- Wear a mask and nitrile gloves at all times
- Visit a healthcare provider for further evaluation
In the instance that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19, the facility may need to temporarily close for proper disinfection. The employee should self-isolate or work from home if possible.
Preparing for a New Normal
Following extended work from home measures, many employees may be eager to return to work. But returning to work will raise new concerns around safety and hygiene. Businesses should retain health and safety as a top priority to keep trust and confidence with employees. Precautions may include checking the temperature of employees upon entrance, minimizing work-related travel, and encouraging teams to conduct virtual meetings.
By clearly communicating and implementing safety protocols, employees and customers will feel more comfortable going back to work.
As an essential business, WESCO and our partners have been carefully managing operations in a modified format and providing customers with consistent updates.