How Prepared are our Offices for COVID 19

May 18, 2020   |   Written by Puneet Chandra
Skootr Offfice Care

HAVE YOU CONSIDERED THESE FIVE CHECKS BEFORE RETURNING TO YOUR WORKPLACE?

While we get comfortable with working from home in our pyjamas, our workplaces are undergoing a complete transformation to welcome us back anytime soon. 

An empty conference room that used to witness all important business meetings, a cafeteria that still misses your lunch time tattles, restroom where you took all the major decisions, and your workstation- your throughout the day accomplice are all under strict hygiene scrutiny.

As the situation stabilizes and lockdown restrictions are lifted, our remotely plugged workforce will eventually start returning to the physical workplace. In fact, it’s already begun in some parts of the world. With the Government of India lifting lockdown in phases the offices are preparing for reopening with preventive measures and strict protocols as laid down by the government and WHO.

Many of our clients have sought our guidance and expertise as they plan & navigate through this process. Hence, we at Skootr are ready with a checklist to revamp our offices to make it workforce ready post lockdown. This checklist encapsulates all the necessary steps that an organisation can take before reopening their workspace , and letting employees in. It has been curated by our expert professionals, keeping in mind the guidelines shared by WHO as well as best practices and simple solutions for a healthier and safer ecosystem at the workplace.

Make sure your workplace is fumigated & regularly sanitized

– Heavy use areas such as workstations, food court tables and high touch surfaces/objects such as keyboards, remote, desktops, lift buttons, telephones and door handles need to be identified and cleaned thoroughly with a government approved/authorized disinfectant at regular intervals.

Such heavily used areas can act as breeding grounds for the virus and make it spread like a fire. Also ask employees not to borrow any of the above items from their colleagues.

-Prior to initiating cleaning tasks, ensure all staff practice hand hygiene, washing hands thoroughly prior to putting PPE on, and follow Health, Safety, Security & Environment (HSSE) requirements with PPE 

– Provide your office staff with PPE & disposable wipes in order to continue using the commonly touched surfaces , like door handles and other stationery items in the office.

– After use, workers should properly dispose of or sanitize any PPE in accordance with WHO or local regulatory requirements. 

Promote Washing Hands at regular intervals

– Installation of contactless hand sanitizers around the workplace act as a reminder to the employees to regularly sanitize their hands.

– Make sure that the staff and other workers have access to washrooms where they can wash or clean their hands at regular intervals, also instruct them to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds. As per WHO guidelines, washing kills the virus accumulated in the hands and reduces the spread of COVID19.

Educate your Staff

– While workplace design and safety protocols are critical, we often fail to address perhaps the most important aspect of return to work—the readiness of the workforce physically, emotionally and psychologically. Hence, developing a plan to mitigate employee fears and concerns should be a top priority.  Encouraging employees to share their personal experiences from a work and life perspective can help mitigate some part of their anxiety & fear.

– Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the reception, inside washrooms, meeting rooms, and in other common areas where they can be seen easily.

– Conduct hygiene training programs at regular intervals to keep the employees duly informed regarding the symptoms and precautions for COVID19. Also have contingency plans in place in the event of an employee being diagnosed with the virus or any symptoms.

The contingency plan must also take into consideration the implications of business continuity planning in case a large segment of employees continue to work remotely due to health concerns. 

Social Distancing in Office

Social distancing is one of the most effective antidotes against COVID19. It has now become a new norm across the globe, and the same applies to our workplaces as well. While revamping the office structure, we need to ensure looking at not just accommodating as many people as we can but to actually provide greater space to each employee. A minimum distance of six feet between workstations, which has been accepted as a universal standard to avoid proximity, is a must before people come back to work.

With spacious working areas, controlled influx of people and protocol of Six-feet-distance we can achieve a healthy and safer working environment post pandemic.

Investing in latest and more advanced technology

We have come a long way in our fight against COVID-19, if we take a few more steps towards the modern/contactless technology options, we can definitely surpass.

A hands free door access control method can be adopted to restrict touching door knobs every time someone enters the workplace. More voice automation needs to be integrated in order to reduce the impact of physical touch. The old school security systems may not be well equipped for a post coronavirus office environment.

Key Takeaways

The most significant factor of your business is the wellbeing and security of your workers. While it might appear overwhelming to change your work environment arrangements after COVID-19, it’s indispensable to move ahead in the positive direction with a bounty of alert. Future of workspaces has now changed drastically.

To guarantee both your offices and representatives are set up for a post-coronavirus workplace, you ought to set up COVID-19 working environment security rules to alleviate chance and lessen the transmission of germs between workers. While individual hygiene plays a key role in keeping the infection from spreading, there are many control factors for organizations to consider, including touch-less technology, hands free entry and exit system, social distancing and regular sanitization of the common areas, cafeterias and meeting/conference rooms.

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