The COVID-19 (respiratory illness caused by a novel virus) has had a widespread impact across the Globe. All the businesses from Aviation, IT Consulting, Manufacturing, Real Estate, Hospitality, Cinema, etc. have been adversely affected.
As the states across the country begin reopening, stay-at-home orders are lifted, business owners get ready to reopen.
As the post-pandemic planning continues to progress, adhering to the laws that apply to business reopening and the local and state regulations as well as guidance from trusted organizations such as the CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should be strictly followed.
There is no proven formula for how to go back to work safely once COVID-19 has receded. The entire world has not faced this ever before. Post COVID-19 world has begun thinking about best practices for returning to work and how to re-consider the wheel to keep your team safe.
COVID-19 has harmed each one of us in some way or the other. Right now the real changes and challenges are:-
- Business Hiring
- Unemployment Resources
- Educator Resources
- Rural Resources
- Rental & Mortgage
- Food and Cash
- Mental Health Resources
Before you open your doors, consider the following measures for returning to work safely and responsibly.
As per CDC, if your answer to the following is “yes” then you can consider reopening
- Location of your business – Is it located in an area which no longer needs significant mitigation?
- If you reopen, will that comply with local and state rules?
- Is your business that much prepared to protect your staff at higher risk for severe illness?
Reopening a business should address some of the important safety measures like a strategy for encouraging healthy hygiene practices, means for cleaning and disinfection, social distancing, possibilities for telework, restrictions to use shared spaces and items, training staff on safety procedures, etc.
Post pandemic most employers from IT consulting firms to other businesses will find their workplace different.
Make Health Screening Protocols
Allowing your staff to return to work and customers back to your business will need additional safety measures. Make screening protocols mandatory for all the employees, customers, job candidates who enter your workplace. Formulate policies to control access to public and common areas. Consider social distancing guidelines whenever needed.
Keep Social Distancing Plan
Ensure your entire team and customers meet the social distancing guidelines (6-feet) for workplaces and public areas. Review the layout of your office/workplace to regulate ways of seating areas, workstations can adhere to the latest safety guidelines.
Conduct your Workplace Assessment
To help guide your process for reopening, take your employee’s feedback, and gather important stuff. Consider all the different phases and scenarios of reopening v/s opening all at one go.
Classify Employees Required for Reopening
At each phase of reopening, identify the essential positions. To avoid unnecessary allegations, document your selection process. Stay aware of COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and other EEOC laws. Plan ahead and train your employees.
Evaluate your Employee Benefits Program
You might have made staffing adjustments that might have prompted changes in your benefits program. Check with the relevant authority to determine if your plan requires any change post-pandemic.
Assess Employee Classifications
Post-pandemic planning will play a major role when you re-open your business. To avoid a hefty violation, make sure your employees are correctly classified.
Check your Workplace Rules and Regulations
Make necessary adjustments for changing regulations after reviewing your existing procedures. For e.g. work hours, attendance, remote work, travel policies, leave policies, vacation, or paid off, using different equipment and technology.
Make Necessary Policies for Employees with COVID-19 Diagnosis or Symptoms – Develop your workplace COVID-19 policy using CDC recommendations.
Plan Proper Accommodations for Workers at Risk
Make special accommodations for employees considered as high risk like providing them telework or reworking assignments so that you can minimize the contact and plan accordingly before you reopen.
Ensure Your Surroundings Are Clean and Safe
Clean and disinfect your workplace and surroundings as per guidelines by OSHA and CDC. Always prefer approved cleaning chemicals for cleaning and disinfecting areas. Ensure to have adequate supplies of hand sanitizers and masks before reopening.
Develop Proper Training and Communications Procedures
Communicate the new safety plan and procedure to your team and clients. Post necessary guidelines on the entrance of your workplace and do not use the services of those who do not adhere to the same.
Evaluate the Technological Capabilities
The equipment, systems, and technology tested properties should be efficient enough.
- Before investing check if you need any additional technology or equipment.
- Evaluate the efficacy of the procedures used.
- Determine the capabilities of your present software program to make sure if any additional modifications are needed.
- Make sure you have required security and privacy protocols to safeguard your business.
Consider Long-term Strategy
To limit the risk of outbreak, think and plan for the long term including remote working, redesigning your office, and maintaining social distancing.
Once the COVID-19 vaccine is out, get your employees and their families vaccinated as soon as possible.
Always remember the pandemic has not ended; it’s just that the shelter-in-place orders are being lifted gradually across the Globe. Best practices for returning to work should be followed as your business plans return to work safely. Reopen safely and call for help to reduce your COVID-19 risks.