Safe return to workplace
The new year has had a promising start. The Covid vaccine campaigns being run in most parts of the world promises a way out of this pandemic. It also means businesses need to brace up for opening their doors once again. However, it will require adequate planning and elaborate measures to assure the employees to return to the workplace which is safe.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has come up with a comprehensive and detailed guideline regarding how the workplaces can become safe again and be ready to welcome back the employees whenever that happens. This article borrows heavily from the guidelines issued by ILO.
There are stages in which the safety and hygiene needs to be practiced.
ILO has been thorough in pointing out personal hygiene and safety measures that need to be observed from the very beginning. Even going ahead and pointing out the basic that the employees suffering from cold, cough, runny nose etc should stay home and take proper help.
The following are the guidelines to be considered before entering the workplace:
At the workplace:
Leaving the workplace:
Suppliers and clients need to be managed as well. A proper safety protocol needs to be created for any outsider coming into the office premises. Reception of goods, loading, unloading, setting up mobile toilets for outsiders so that they do not enter the office building, hand washing, and safe distancing are some of the other measures to consider. Electronic payments and contactless dropping point for parcels and couriers can be practiced ensuring minimum contact with outsider visiting the office premises.
Customer and clients should be treated as outsiders and caution needs to be the guiding factor to determine how safe it is for them to visit the premises. Technology can be used to conduct most of the meetings and transactions thus eliminating the need to be physically present to get the work done.
The organizations can also identify the vulnerable section of their workforce and reassign them options like teleworking, if possible or better safety measures, screening, and test help if not.
In addition to the above, the mental health and the toll it has taken on the employees cannot and should not be ignored. It is advisable for the organizations to organize proper help and support, updating policies if required to ensure that the employees returning to work get the help if they need.
A top down approach of compassionate leadership with people at the center of the policy and process will ensure that when the businesses take their first steps towards recovery it will be sustainable.
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