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Resuming work after lockdown

Resuming work after lockdown: Everything you need to know!

In just a matter of months, the whole world has been transformed and our entire way of living has changed dramatically. As the global pandemic is claiming people’s lives, social distancing and protective measures have become a part of our daily lives in an attempt to stop the virus from spreading. The business world is undeniably severely affected during this crisis with a substantial proportion of employees working from home. But in the case that work can’t be performed from a remote location, then the only option forward is to pause business operations for quite some time. If this happens, workers are obliged to stay at home under an income replacement arrangement until they are allowed to go back to the office. 

But considering that the situation has already started to settle down in many countries around the world and the protective measures have achieved a sufficient reduction in the transmission rates of the virus, national administrations are implementing a gradual resumption of business activities. Nevertheless, while employees have slowly started to return to their physical job positions, it is critical that protective procedures and systems remain in place for a period of time in order to avoid the unlike scenario of a rapid increase in the infection rates. 

If you want to find out more about the fundamental reasons why protective measures in the workplace are critical for your company, your employees, and the public, then keep reading below. You will be surprised by how much your stance towards protective procedures against the virus can benefit or harm your business. It’s your call. 

Why business protective business procedures in the workplace are important for your staff and public

 

Stopping the second wave of Covid-19

As the economy reopens and citizens are being released from complete lockdown, a sudden surge of confirmed cases and infection rates might signal a second wave of the disease – which if left unattended might demand a reintroduction of restrictive measures or even another lockdown in some cases. Without a doubt, such a scenario will be devastating not only for the economy and the business world but also for the health and wellbeing of the citizens. 

There is only one way to avoid such a scenario from occurring and that is putting in place various protective business procedures to protect all stakeholders of your business including your workforce, your clients and customers, your suppliers, and any visitors that might step through your door. 

Protecting your people – your most valuable asset

There is no shortage of disagreement that the global pandemic has been a traumatized experience for people around the globe, especially those who have either suffered from the disease or lost loved ones. With Covid-19 triggering a massive spike in uncertainty and insecurity, businesses will need to go the extra mile in order to ensure that employees feel safe and healthy in their work environment as business activities start to go back to normal. 

In order to provide your employees with the maximum confidence and sense of security, you will need to adhere to the highest standards of hygiene and safety, ranging from PPE to office furniture. 

Avoiding employee absence

In many countries around the world, employees are allowed to deny returning to the office unless adequate measures are in place including a change of procedures, the acquirement of PPE, and the implementation of strict hygienic procedures.

Thus, taking the above into consideration, it is deemed necessary that all businesses identify and assess the risks associated with the working environment and working conditions, and subsequently impose the respective measures to counteract potential employee absence. 

Addressing insecurity through the lens of care and compassion

With ambiguity and insecurity skyrocketing, businesses are expected to meet the challenges imposed by the pandemic with a caring and kind-hearted attitude that shows compassion not only to the workforce but also to the rest of the world affected by the tragic event. 

It can’t be denied that while it’s easy to be a leader when things are normal and business is booming, it’s much more difficult to step up when times get hard. Companies that respond appropriately to this challenge by taking the necessary protective business systems to protect their employees will undeniably be favoured not only by employees but also by current and prospective customers. Amid this chaos, winning in the hearts of your people has never been more important. 

Protect your reputation

This pandemic has undeniably proved the importance of embracing humanity, being compassionate, and helping those in need – and that holds true for businesses as well. Companies that want to protect their reputation need to take a ‘human’ stance towards tackling the virus, which in fact means prioritizing their employees, their customers, and the public. 

Supporting vulnerable groups of people via donations and charity events, protecting your customers and workforce via PPE, and supporting the mental and physical health and well-being of affected individuals are only a few examples that you can leverage in order to protect your reputation through the lens of care and support. It’s more about embracing these values within your company culture rather than taking one-off actions. If dealt correctly, your business reputation and reliability not only will stay untouched, but it might also surge. Remember, customers are the source of your revenue, so losing your reputation during this chaotic situation might mean the end to you.

Implementing protective measures to protect your business

 

Assess the risks

If the global pandemic has affected the way your business is done, then you will need to carefully evaluate the situation and devise a plan of action for resuming work after a period of closure – always in accordance with the respective governmental measures. 

It goes without saying that the first step towards implementing business protective measures is to evaluate the associated risks according to the nature of the business, the layout of the organization, as well as the essential and non-essential business activities. When assessing your situation, you will need to pay close attention to the workers who are at high-risk, and those who fall in vulnerable groups including older people, people with chronic conditions, or pregnant employees. 

It’s time to impose protective business measures

Depending on the risks identified and the protocols in effect, businesses should impose the respective measures in order to protect not only their employees but also customers and other visitors. Whether you are a retail business, a marketing agency, or an accounting firm – protective business measures are vital for the safety of your stakeholders. Here are a few suggestions that will safeguard that your business will be reinstated under the strictest measures and stringent hygienic standards:

Office furniture and sneeze guards

Standard recommendations for minimizing the spread of the disease include regular and thorough hand washing, avoiding close contact with other people, and covering the mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. In an attempt to adhere to the above, office desk protective screens can come a long way in keeping the required physical space between people in the same room and minimizing the spread of the virus. 

Moreover, considering that the virus can be transmitted by body fluids caused by sneezing and coughing, sneeze guards can minimize body fluid exposure and thus reduce the possibility of the virus spreading.

PPE (masks, gloves, ect)

Another protective measure that can protect individuals against the transmission of the virus is PPE such as masks and gloves. Work PPE should be used by all people within a given work environment whether they are employees, visitors, or suppliers. While the importance of work PPE is immense, individuals and businesses are struggling to find masks and gloves available at stores, and even if they do, they are overpriced. So, if you have been unable to buy masks and gloves, then head on to  in order to place your order. 

Within this context, considering that the virus can survive a few hours or even days on particular surfaces, PPE can also protect individuals when touching surfaces that have previously been exposed to the virus. Although there is no data currently available on the precise stability of Covid-19 on surfaces, it has been estimated as follows:

Type of surface Estimated virus stability Examples of surfaces in a work environment
Metal 5 days Doorknobs
Wood 4 days Furniture, office desk, decking
Plastic  2-3 days Elevator buttons, packaging
Stainless Steel  2-3 days  Refrigerators, water bottles, sinks
Cardboard 1 day Shipping boxes, parcels
Ceramics  5 days Dishes, mugs
Paper 5 days Documents

 

Signage

For retail businesses, operations won’t return back to normal for quite some time and the only way forward is operating under strict business protective measures and physical distancing. 

For this reason, companies within the retail sector will need to install signage that reminds customers to comprehend to the social distancing measures as it is very often overlooked. Signage might range from floor stickers to banners and should demonstrate safety best practices including the collect and drop-off areas, the appropriate queuing distance, as well as necessary hygienic procedures. Moreover, ensuring that visitors can navigate easily and safely within your space is vital for keeping your business alive. 

Mobile testing stations

Another preventative measure for minimizing the spread of the virus is the installation of mobile testing stations at the entrance of your business. This will ensure that everyone who enters the building is healthy and hasn’t, or at least he hadn’t already shown early symptoms of the virus such as high temperature, coughing, and sneezing. Anyone with fever or other signs of the virus will not be permitted in the building as part of precautionary measures. 

Change how customer service works

Depending on the nature of your business, you will need to make modifications to how business is done and how customer service works. This is especially the case in the scenario that employees and customers come in direct physical contact – which propounds that the risk of transmission is high.

Actions for eliminating face-to-face interaction are deemed necessary and where applicable it is advised that you opt for online and digital tools that can minimize communication gaps. After all, we are living in the era of digital and online communication so shifting into ‘digital mode’ won’t be that hard in many cases. This might mean virtual meetings with your team, online delivery functionality, and phone orders. 

If you are operating in the retail industry, you will need to also provide PPE to customers and employees including masks and gloves, as well as hand sanitiser upon arrival.

Keeping the workplace clean

Adhering to the strictest hygienic standards is definitely your go-to tool for keeping germs and bacteria away from your office space and thus minimizing the risk of the virus spreading. 

A great and efficient way to ensure that your office remains clean and sanitised is using antibacterial wipes as soon as you get to the office and before you leave. Make sure office desks and protective screens are cleaned down fully at the beginning and end of every shift. It will only take a few minutes of your time, but it can save you from getting the virus in the first place. After all, who doesn’t like a clean and tidy office space?

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