It would be an understatement to say that the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has been a severe public health threat. From disrupting the hospitality industry to upending schools across the nation, the coronavirus has been a shared tragedy for everyone and every industry. While a little more than 40 percent of the American workforce working from home at least part-time before the pandemic, studies show that this trend is now predicted to be the new norm. So, what should companies be doing now aside from social distancing and making masks mandatory? Here’s how some businesses are adapting workspaces and work practices in a post-COVID world.
Making Work from Home Easy
Businesses that wish to continue their work from home policies should be sure to put a greater emphasis on communication among employees and supervisors. Employers should communicate clear guidelines as to what is expected from employees to ensure productivity. Employers should also have the tools and resources at their disposal to ensure that adapting workspaces is feasible for the employee. Here’s how this can be accomplished:
- Equipment: It’s essential that all employees have the right tools and resources to work remotely, and that the policies surrounding the resources are clean cut. This means that employers must provide all of their staff resources, like computers, peripherals, monitors, phones, and tablets.Companies may need to introduce new practices to allow employees to take their equipment home, like taking pictures of equipment or recording serial numbers.
- Offer a Stipend: Some companies are offering stipends to buy supplies while they work remotely during the pandemic and beyond. While the company is asking employees to take their monitors, keyboards, and laptops home with them, this stipend aids in helping workers with their home offices, such as purchasing equipment.
Making Work from the Office Safe
If working from home measures are lifted, or companies opt to bring employees back to the office even part-time, the focus needs to be on employee health. Whether it’s disinfecting or keeping people socially distanced, here are some tips businesses can adopt to keep people healthy while at work:
- Increase Cleanliness: Businesses should provide a safe and clean space for all staff to work. COVID-19 continues to be a severe public health threat without a vaccine at the time of publishing, so ensuring employee safety is of the utmost importance. Additionally, employees need to take responsibility for their own space and ensure everyone is on the same page.Increased cleaning of areas like door handles, railings, light switches, appliance doors, and all surfaces, including desks, meeting rooms, and lunchroom tables must occur frequently.
- Design New Layouts and Safe Working Spaces: Rearranging the layout inside facilities is critical for effective social distancing measures. Companies should rethink their physical space completely and get creative to find ways to keep people from gathering. Here are some methods that workplaces can use to create new layouts to enhance social distancing measures:
- Increase the seating space between all desks and shared tables
- Place a hand sanitizer station inside highly trafficked areas
- Block off communal seating or remove furniture that encourages groups to gather
- Require all people in the facility to wear a mask
- Install plexiglass walls on desks
While there is still no cure and no telling when this virus will subside, there are still ways that businesses can ensure better safety for their employees. Whether it’s working from home or adapting workspaces to accommodate safety regulations while working in the office, the new normal requires thoughtful and considerate planning that puts the employee first.
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