Many businesses and workplaces around the country are reopening as restrictions are slowly lifting. These are the measures to take to keep your on-site employees safe as you head back to work.
As the long-term trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic remains uncertain, many U.S. cities are starting to reopen to help support businesses large and small. Most of these organizations now require strict social distancing measures for their offices and workspaces to limit the spread of the coronavirus, which has already impacted the economy and caused businesses of all sizes to close for good.
When you’re managing a team of employees who are working on-site once again, there are several actions to take to prepare and support social distancing. Here are the best strategies to implement now.
Redesign your spaces
First, any space where employees will be working will probably need to be redesigned. Shift desks, tables, and workstations so that there is plenty of room between each worker.
Put up partitions, raise cubicle walls, and integrate Plexiglas dividers in spaces where employees need to interact, or in common areas like break rooms.
Altering seating arrangements and integrating partitions will help on-site staff stay at least 6 feet apart and avoid getting too close when they do need to communicate.
Use remote communication methods
Even while the staff is on-site, implement a policy that they still use video, phone, and chat communication tools with each other. Discourage large in-person interactions or meetings. Using these alternate channels will limit the contact employees have with one another while allowing work to continue.
Virtual meetings can be just as successful as in-person meetings for many offices and industries, so don’t risk spreading the virus by requiring face-to-face gatherings.
Stagger working hours
If possible for your business, create a new schedule where all employees aren’t present at the same time. This limits the number of individuals in the space at once and makes it easier to maintain proper social distancing.
Before or after each shift, employees should also know their responsibilities for cleaning and sanitizing their work areas. Any new procedures should be prominently posted, so employees know exactly what’s expected of them.
Don’t allow visitors
Only necessary employees should be on-site at an office. Implement a strict policy that does not allow for any unauthorized friends, family members, or clients to enter the workspaces, day or night. Make sure that each worker understands this policy and its purpose.
Of course, if your business is in the service or retail industries, customers will be coming in and out of the space all day. If this is the case, educate employees on best practices for customer interactions and for sanitizing common surfaces before, during, and after opening. Be sure to provide your employees with any necessary PPE.
Educate about proper distancing
You’ll want all your employees to be on the same page, so it’s a good idea to provide training materials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or this workplace guide from the Department of Health and Human Services.
All on-site workers should be aware of the following measures:
- Do not shake hands or hug when greeting others
- Avoid all physical contact
- Always stand or sit at least six feet apart
- Wear a mask when talking to others or serving customers
- Sanitize workspaces each day
- Wear gloves if handling products or food
Provide tips for life outside of the office
Communicate to your on-site employees the importance of avoiding public transportation, if possible, or wearing a mask and staying apart from others if taking a train or bus to work. Discourage employees from gathering with groups of more than 10 people and stress the importance of wearing masks and staying socially distant in their neighborhoods. Workers should also not be traveling, and you should encourage them to talk to their friends and family via virtual communication methods.
Encourage sick employees to stay home
When a worker shows any symptom of an illness, ask them to stay home from work. It’s also wise to integrate temperature checks when employees arrive each day. If someone has a fever, however slight, then further testing can be done to ensure they can continue working. Don’t require a doctor’s note for a sick employee to take leave.
Remain open and flexible
As a manager, it’s important to remain open and available to employees. Act as a resource and provide support if they’re experiencing any distress or are having to take care of a sick family member.
As the pandemic continues to spread and the future is uncertain, stay flexible to any changes you need to implement in your social distancing plan. Ask for feedback from workers and have regular check-ins with them to see how they’re doing and coping.
Get the right equipment
Your business or office may need additional masks, hand sanitizer, partitions, social distancing signage, or PPE as you integrate new measures into the workplace.
To better protect on-site employees, and create a socially distant office, browse products from The Corporate Graphic Center (TCGC). You’ll find FDA-approved masks, posters, floor decals, and much more so that your employees are alerted to and reminded of new policies and procedures. These could include physical distancing measures, hand-washing techniques, and more.
Get in touch with TCGC to learn about our social distancing printing solutions and PPE.