As countries around the world are beginning to reduce restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic gradually subsiding, organizations will need to start and prepare their staff and workplace for the potential of returning to work soon, with some social distancing measures in place.
Many people will understandably feel anxious about returning to work in the office or another ‘on-site’ location in the coming weeks. Even if you’re not feeling personal anxiety about going back to work, you may still feel concerned about how you can continue to stay safe.
So, we prepared a guide to returning to work safely as governments around the world start to lift the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Regardless of which country you are based in, try to only allow your staff to go back to work, if it is safe to do so.
Implementing Social Distancing at Work
A business should plan and decide who will return to work and when, ensuring that there is at least a space of 2 meters between each staff.
The lock down may be over soon, however that does not mean that there’s no need for social and physical distancing. Maintaining a proper distance from everyone at work is crucial. Try to minimize contact when you can, avoid crowded areas like elevators and be considerate of others when in shared areas such as a kitchen or bathroom.
If your organization hasn’t already, propose going digital in some areas.
Reduce the risk of encountering other people by going digital. Reschedule Face-to-Face meetings with clients and partners to a virtual conferencing instead. There are multiple free communication and collaboration platforms available such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom. But if that isn’t possible, make sure to abided by the public health advice and limit the number of people present as much as possible.
Additionally, by going digital you can save paper and send important documents online.
Implementing high levels of hygiene measures
Be mindful about what you touch
Implementing and maintaining high levels of hygiene at your business premises minimizes the spread of COVID-19. Wash your hands as frequently as possible, particularly after you touch door handles and handrails or use shared office equipment. Avoid using shared cutlery, touching your face throughout the day and you may want to carry anti-bacterial gel with you. Communicate your new hygiene measure to your employees and remember the same personal hygiene measure that were encourage during the pandemic will still apply at work.
(If your office has been closed for a long time a deep clean of the premises prior to opening would be beneficial as well as wiping down your desk, keyboard, and monitor.
Mental & Emotional support
Ensure you are comfortable with returning to work.
Returning to the workplace after lockdown will be a big step for many people and some staff may have anxiety / concerns about returning to work or have experienced tough times during the lockdown. So, it’s important to understand, prioritise and consider your employees’ physical and mental wellbeing. Checking in and having a meeting with staff before they return is especially important as this can reassure employees of the ongoing support you will provide.
If you do return to work, consider and plan accordingly.