While making business plans for 2020, you probably never imagined the need to deal with the challenges thrown at your business by a pandemic! With lockdowns implemented in many countries across the world, you and your employees need to adjust to a new way of working – from your homes or with the bare minimum of resources needed to keep your business productivity going. However, even as you adjust to this situation and eagerly await the post-lockdown period, it is important to realize that operations aren’t going to go back to the way they were pre-COVID for a long time to come.
Before you welcome your employees back into the workspace, you will need to rethink day-to-day operations to make sure your employees are safe and that your workplace does not become a potential hotspot for the spread of COVID-19.
Here are some points to consider while preparing your workplace for the post-lockdown period:
Categorize your employees
Just because the lockdown is lifted, doesn’t mean that there are no chances of the virus continuing to spread. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that as many of your employees as possible stay home for as long as possible. Prepare a list of your employees in various departments, hold discussions with their supervisors, and decide who needs to be on-site to resume business operations post the lockdown – such as those working in manufacturing units.
This will not only keep many of your employees from having to risk the daily commute to the workplace, but also reduce the number of employee interactions within the workplace.
Create new work schedules
As we already mentioned, one cannot expect to go back to the pre-pandemic schedules of five or six-day work-weeks immediately after the lockdown period. While keeping the number of employees coming into the office minimal, consider rotational shifts for those employees whose physical presence is essential for operations.
For example, you can consider asking one set of your employees to visit the office/factory on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays while another set does so on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Put new protocols in place
If you are not a company that has actively promoted work-from-home or remote work situations, this is the time to do it. You may have been forced into implementing this mode of operation due to the lockdown and have probably developed new protocols to continue monitoring your employees’ activities. Strengthen these protocols or fine-tune them now to suit those employees who will continue to operate from home even post lockdown.
Within the workplace, too, reimagine processes to make sure operations are smooth with minimal physical proximity and maximum safety of your employees. For instance, meetings can continue to be conducted through video conferencing with employees remaining at their own desks rather than sitting together in a closed room. Client interactions and customer service practices will also need to be revamped.
Prepare the workspace
Sanitize the space and all the equipment which will be used once employees return to work. You may need to consider new and more rigorous cleaning schedules for your workspace, including dining areas and restrooms, once employees begin to come in and use these facilities.
Restructure the seating arrangements in the office to make sure employees can stay at least 3-6 feet away from each other while they work.
Rethink the biometric attendance systems and the use of common registers that are generally handled by multiple employees at a time. Switch to virtual/contactless attendance mechanisms with geo-location trackers instead.
Stay updated on government regulations
These are unprecedented times, and governments across the world are trying to find ways in which different industries can continue to function without putting the health of citizens at risk. Make sure you follow the news and keep yourself up-to-date on announcements and circulars being published by official sources, especially those concerned with your industry.
Accommodate these regulations into your daily workflows and document these thoroughly to remain audit-ready and ensure continued compliance. Using an incident tracking and workflow management tool can go a long way in making this possible.
This may be overwhelming, but there are really no shortcuts to mitigate health risks and reopen your workplace for employees post the lockdown. There are, however, smart ways to do it! Start preparing today – ask CloudNow how our business continuity management (BCM) solution, Akku, can help!