As we enter a new era of workplace safety and security following the COVID-19 lockdown, employees should be able to confidently return to work, onsite or remotely, and administrators must have the peace of mind that they are complying with the new requirements. Getting back to work in the office while keeping employees and visitors protected from the current pandemic should be of the utmost importance to all employers.
How to Manage a Safe Return to Work
As many businesses around the globe begin to reopen, it is imperative for employers to develop new policies and regulations to bring employees back to work safely, giving careful thought to schedules, seating configurations, visitor policies, contact tracing, elevator usage, food delivery, and much more. Many believe that these safety requirements will be necessary well into the future.
The most common employee safety requests closely match the CDC recommended guidelines to mitigate the spread of infectious disease:
- Employee social distancing
- Extensively clean and sanitize work areas
- Encourage sick employees to stay home and institute flexible sick leave policies
- Promote ongoing personal hygiene
- Provide contactless access to parking facilities, buildings, and elevators
- Provide proper personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Screen all employees before they return to work
It is imperative that employers communicate to employees how such measures are being implemented, what the timeline is, and how they will be monitored and enforced. It is also important that protocols are updated and communicated to the workforce as the situation evolves.
Managing Employees Mental Health
While workforce reentry includes thought-out logistical and operational planning, employers must also take into account the impact of COVID-19 on individuals’ emotional and psychological health. Anxiety is near-universal now, a natural reaction to unnatural circumstances and an uncertain future. Many employees are concerned their employers will bring them back to work prematurely, not to mention their position and future of the company that they work for. The anxiety generated by these circumstances can yield negative results such as concentration problems, fatigue, increased alcohol, tobacco and drug consumption, and the worsening of existing health problems, all of which can potentially impact job performance.