With the coronavirus taking over businesses nationwide with shutdowns, temporary closures, and remote work, companies are slowly (but surely) working toward a new normal. For many businesses, part of this “new normal” is having employees return to the workplace, following new guidelines, and keeping things spotless and sanitized. But to keep your workplace healthy as business returns to semi-normal, you need to rethink some of your old strategies.
7 Strategies to keep your workplace healthy
Keeping your employees and customers safe should be your number one priority as your business begins to work toward a new normal. To ensure your workplace stays healthy and clean and continues to thrive post-pandemic, take advantage of these seven strategies.
1. Keep the workplace spick and span
This first tip should go without saying … if you want to keep your workplace healthy, you’ve got to clean, clean, clean. Business may start to go back to normal, but that doesn’t mean that the coronavirus, the flu, or any other viruses are gone for good.
To keep your employees, customers, and overall business healthy, invest in disinfectants. You can also consider hiring a cleaning crew to alleviate this added responsibility. Whatever route you decide to take, make sure you are cleaning the following at least daily:
- Doorknobs and handles
- Buttons (e.g., microwave, printer, etc.)
- Keypads (e.g., register)
In addition to scrubbing down your workplace each day (if not multiple times a day), encourage or require employees to do the same with their workspace. Provide wipes and sanitizer for employees to wipe down their desks or workstations throughout the day.
If customers are allowed inside, consider also having your staff wipe down things like keypads, countertops, and registers after each customer finishes their transaction. That way, you keep things nice and clean in between customer transactions.
2. Follow guidelines to a T
Depending on your state, you and your employees may have to follow certain coronavirus-related rules when returning to the workplace. This may include things like:
- Wearing a mask at all times
- Keeping employees and customers six feet apart for social distancing
- Encouraging employees to stay home if they feel sick
- Taking employees’ temperatures before they enter the building
To keep your business healthy (and to avoid any fines or getting shut down), you must, must, must follow all guidelines to a T. If you temporarily closed your business or had employees work remotely, contact your state to find out what requirements they have in place before you bring any employees back to the workplace. And, make sure your employees are in the loop about new regulations.
3. Require sick employees to stay home
According to one source, 90% of employees go to work while they’re sick. That means only a whopping one out of every 10 employees is taking the time off to get a little TLC, bounce back from their sickness, and avoid spreading germs to others.
To help your workplace stay as healthy as possible and prevent any outbreaks at the office, require sick employees to stay home. Consider allowing sick employees to work from home when they feel unwell. Or, think about offering sick pay to employees to help them recover more quickly from an illness.
Keep in mind that if one of your employees comes down with the coronavirus, you may be required to give them paid leave under FFCRA.
4. Limit touchpoints
It’s no secret that germs and viruses can spread like wildfire in the workplace, especially during cold and flu season. But by throwing the coronavirus into the mix, you have to take additional precautions outside of the typical virus season. To prevent viruses from spreading around at your workplace, limit touchpoints.
So, what is a touchpoint you ask? A touchpoint is, well, anything you may touch during day-to-day business operations. Doorknobs, handles, buttons … you get the picture. Heavy touchpoints can be riddled with germs and bacteria, making it easier for your team and customers to contract different illnesses.
To limit touchpoints at your business, reduce the surfaces that people need to touch with their hands. You can:
- Leave doors open or get automatic doors
- Keep certain areas closed off
- Install motion sensor lights
- Invest in automatic soap dispensers and sinks
5. Create a sanitizing station
With the coronavirus still prevalent, you may notice sanitizing stations popping up left and right when you’re in public. Ya know … hand sanitizer, wipes, all that good stuff. To keep your business healthy, why not create your own sanitizing station for your workplace to help keep everyone healthy?
Making your own sanitizing station(s) is super easy. To create your own, find a higher traffic area in your workplace to set up your station. Put your station in a space that is easy to find and visible to everyone. You can add items like hand sanitizer, wipes, and even gloves for people to take and use to keep them safe and healthy. If you have a bigger building, consider setting up multiple stations in different work areas so they are easy to find and take advantage of.
6. Embrace technology and remote options
Maybe you used the coronavirus as a time to experiment with remote work. If you did, you’re not alone. Because of COVID-19, 62% of employees are working from home to help steer clear of the virus.
If you haven’t already experimented with remote work, it’s not too late to start. And thankfully, there’s plenty of technology out there (e.g., video conferencing platforms, chat tools, project management software, etc.) to keep employees in touch and productive while they work from home.
To test the remote work waters, consider allowing employees to work remotely a few days per week. You can always work your way up to a fully remote team.
Remote work can help keep employees spread out to avoid any possible outbreaks and reduce the amount of time employees are in the workplace. Not to mention, it can enhance your team’s communication skills and boost productivity levels.
7. Consider a workplace redesign
By now, you are likely a pro at social distancing thanks to COVID-19. And depending on your state’s rules, you may have no choice but to continue to social distance in the workplace.
To keep your workplace healthy and follow state guidelines, consider redesigning the layout of your company’s office or building.
Now, you may be thinking, Won’t that be expensive? Well, it doesn’t have to be. You can most definitely redesign your workplace without breaking the bank. You can spread out desks, install barriers, and add markings to the floors that are six feet apart.
To also open up your workplace a bit, consider opening the windows and/or doors to let some fresh air in. Or, think about investing in an air purifier to keep the air inside the building clean.