Employee safety in the wake of COVID-19 is more of an issue than ever before. With the concerns of the pandemic atop the economic difficulties of reopening a business or starting a new one, human resources now means giving employees and coworkers the tools to stay safe and maintain social distancing.
No matter the challenges, you can create an office space that is safe, sustainable, and functional. All it takes are the right steps and tools to help you open or reopen your workplace post-coronavirus.
Here are five tips for reopening your business safely and successfully:
#1: Write or Rewrite Your Business Plan
Whether you are planning to start a business fresh or are restarting after COVID-19 shutdowns, the pandemic has changed many factors. Reconsider how you’ll conduct business and employee procedures from the ground up. This means reworking your business plan.
A business plan can include everything from long-term goals to the structure of day-to-day procedures. The most important factor involved in the business plan are the financials. From a value proposition to financial projections, the state of the pandemic economy has likely affected your plans. Rework your business plan when starting or restarting a business to set clear and updated expectations for yourself, your employees, or your investors.
#2: Calculate the Costs
Successfully restarting a business after the pandemic comes down to a realistic calculation of the costs involved. Take inventory of all expected expenses that come with returning to an office space, potentially onboarding new employees, and restructuring for social distancing.
Use a helpful budgeting tool to take inventory and calculate these costs. Mobile apps and digital tools help you keep track of all expenses on the go as you work out a realistic cost analysis.
Take advantage of the mobility and flexibility offered by budgeting apps as you consider the costs surrounding reopening maintenance, furnishings, equipment, personnel, and so much more.
#3: Factor in Reopening Procedures
With a physical office location, you need to take into account the maintenance procedures that will be required before moving employees back to the office. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list the dangers of a dormant building, citing the risk of mold and Legionella. Prevent problems by taking the proper steps when returning to the office.
Start by developing a plan for water management and ensure that the water heater in your building is functioning properly. Then, flush your water lines with hot and cold water. This is vital in killing Legionella growth and replacing all water in the building’s piping with fresh, clean water.
Follow up with ensuring that all water storage and maintenance systems like cooling towers, sprinkler systems, and eye wash stations are clean and functional. Finally, disinfect all water fountains and features.
There are costs associated with these necessary procedures that you’ll need to prepare for and document, but completing them helps guarantee employee safety.
#4: Redesign Your Space
Your original office layout likely isn’t up to the standards of a post-COVID social distancing world. This means a redesign of your workspace, including areas you might not have considered. Not only should the office layout be managed to maintain a distance of six feet between employees, rooms, and walkways that typically saw more traffic should be adjusted for the new normal.
Create indicators in hallways and bathrooms to maintain one-way traffic or individual use so that your coworkers aren’t in close quarters when they don’t have to be. Breakroom furniture and layouts should be adjusted to accommodate fewer individuals at a time. Sanitization stations and equipment should be accessible and neatly organized.
A comprehensive redesign will allow the members of your team to keep a safe distance while maintaining functionality but take the opportunity to have fun with your work environment. Consider redecorating with sustainable decor. Add some plants. Integrate color. Create a fun, thriving workplace despite the added anxiety of social distancing rules that will help your employees and coworkers adjust to the new normal.
#5: Focus on Employee Safety
First and foremost should always be the safety of those working in an office. Consider measures you can implement to enhance employee safety and combat the pandemic.
There are many different strategies you can integrate into your redesigned business plan; here are just a few ideas:
- Contract healthcare professionals to monitor temperatures of those entering the building
- Educate and be consistent on proper facemask procedures
- Provide sanitizing equipment and individual office supplies to reduce sharing
- Limit the number of employees on break and in shared spaces at any given time
- Allow able employees to work from home
- Integrate smart solutions for visitor monitoring and employee security
Start with your broad business plan and narrow it to specific ways you can maintain employee safety. In the wake of COVID-19, businesses need to implement every policy they can for team member comfort and morale. These are but a few suggestions for a safer future.
By following these strategies to redesign your business before opening or reopening, you will provide your team with a safe office environment with the resources they need to be successful.