How can we return to the workplace in a safe way after COVID-19?
12 Aug 2020

 

 

Now that several countries are gradually starting to lift the lockdown measures, companies allow their employees to gradually return to the office. Recent surveys indicate that  around 1 in 4 employees expect to return to work in May, 28% expect to return in June, and 31% expect to return in August or later.[1] This comes with a lot of extra challenges for employers to ensure that this return runs as safely as possible.

After being at home for a long time in a safe bubble, employees are now exposed again to contact with colleagues. It goes without saying that for many people going back to the office can be a very big adjustment that brings along feelings of fear and uncertainty. They expect their employer to have taken sufficient account of the policies, processes and measures to keep everyone in the work environment as healthy and safe as possible.

Many companies install new policies for routing, wearing mouth masks and respect distancing. They invest in signage and disinfection tools to protect their workforce. Others experiment with peer-to-peer distance measurement devices (badges or watches) that generate an alarm when 2 persons get closer than 1.5 meter. And some are thinking of using a digital solution like the public corona app or an even more advanced contact tracing app on their premises.

In order to give your employees that feeling of safety and taking your responsibility as employer, you should take the following things into consideration when preparing your restart after lockdown.

3 tips to prepare your workplace for the return of employees

1) Start with physical distance

Establish policies and practices for social distancing. Surveys show that more than 38,9% want to have the ability to maintain social distance at all time in order to feel confident returning to the workplace.[2]

  • Increase physical space between employees by modifying the workspace. Revisit or revise seating arrangements.
  • Use arrows, floor stickers, tape or other visual barriers to indicate how far the social distance has to be in public areas
  • Increase awareness around the social distance rules. Encourage employees to maintain distance at all times. Communicate about all measures that have been taken to diminish feelings of anxiety in the workplace

Consider automating this process of social distancing. A variety of technologies exist that monitor the mandatory physical distance between employees and even notifies them if they exceed that distance after a certain amount of time.

Make sure you invest wisely in the most precise technology that not only measures the physical distance but also takes in account the time of contact, direction and is aware of any obstacles in the environment. You don’t want to have many false positive alerts, when for example there is a glass screen between your employees

2) Contact tracing

35% of the employees would feel more comfortable to go back to work if the company would use contact tracing. They want real-time notifications if someone they work with tests positive. [3]

As an employer you can help ease your employees’ minds and reassure them with technology to offer them the best possible safety measures and the tools for fast escalation and prevention. One of these smart monitoring solutions for contact tracing and social distancing is yooBee designed by BlooLoc.  It’s the perfect and most accurate technology on the market to keep your workplace secure and your business running.

Sensors measure and log all high-risk contacts between employees and guests - wearing a tracker or having a mobile app installed - within the company walls. Unique insights and heatmaps (respecting data privacy) help you make and adjust founded safety measures and investments to prevent a second lockdown.

3) Internal communication

Good communication with your employees is essential. Inform them about the measures you've taken as a company. Reassure your employees to ensure that business runs as smoothly as possible. Make sure everyone within the company is aware of new regulations and measures and can easily address concerns and questions.

Subjects that are key to communicate about:

  • Cleaning and disinfection routines
  • Good hygiene habits such as hand washing protocols, hand sanitizer, observing social distance, ventilation,…
  • Escalation protocols in case someone gets infected

 

Talk to your employees about their situation, feelings and thoughts. Now is the time:

  • prevent and reduce transmission among employees,
  • maintain business operations, and
  • create a healthy and safe work environment.

 

 

Sources:

[1] https://success.qualtrics.com/rs/542-FMF-412/images/Return_to_Work_and_Back_to_Business.pdf

[2] https://success.qualtrics.com/rs/542-FMF-412/images/Return_to_Work_and_Back_to_Business.pdf

[3] https://www.pwc.com/us/en/library/covid-19/employees-anxious-about-returning-to-workplace.html