The coronavirus pandemic, together with mandatory lockdowns has ravaged world economies. As more and countries ease the lockdown and allow companies to resume operations, workers feel anxious returning to work. The main reason for concern is workplace safety in the era of COVID-19. The question that lingers on every employee’s lips is whether they are safe at work from the virus. For management, making workers feel safe again should be a top priority, even more important than restoring productivity levels.
Wall-mounted hand sanitizers
A protective measure directly resulting from the coronavirus outbreak is the placement of hand sanitizers across the office. You can fill up excess soap dispensers with a solution based on alcohol (at least 60%) that kills all germs instantly.
Next to the dispenser, you should place a small notice boar explaining other preventive measures used in fighting COVID-19. One of these measures includes washing hands frequently using soap and water, so make sure the toilets are well-stocked with bars of soap (liquid soap won’t do the trick).
Feeling safe in the Parking lot
There is a good reason why movie directors choose parking lots for shooting scenes of armed robberies. Both underground car parks and parking lots above ground are an open invitation for mugger after dark.
If your company has a parking lot or you rent one, make sure it is well-lit and that there is a guard patrolling it 24/7. These two measures don’t cost a lot in the long run but are sufficient to deter most robbers and muggers.
Finally, the car park shouldn’t have a hedge or tall shrubs planted around it so crooks wouldn’t have a place to hide. If an unwanted incident does occur, make sure that CCTV is running at all times, so the local police force can apprehend the criminal fast based on the footage you provide them with.
Reinvest in cybersecurity
Fighting the coronavirus disease 2019 on the ground has shifted focus from cybersecurity. Ironically, hackers are also forced to obey stay at home” order so they have more time to devise new ways to steal sensitive data and gain access to corporate databases.
Returning to work means that you have to reinvest in cybersecurity to add an extra dimension to employee safety. Moreover, collecting and processing sensitive customer contact information gives you an extra reason to bolster your cybersecurity.
A breach of your database would spell the end of your business operations. Once you lose the trust of your clients, it is virtually (no pun intended) impossible to grow your business from there. As if it were not hard enough battling with the closure due to the pandemic.
Put up warning signage
Apart from notice boards referring to COVID-19, you shouldn’t forget to post warning signs. Those well-known and essential hazard signs warn about everything from machines that start automatically to the presence of wild animals on the premises.
These warning signs are the first line of defense in preventing work-related injuries. Furthermore, they are required by local safety legislation in many parts of the world and could end up saving your company against liability lawsuits by employees.
Stress is the last thing you need right now
Going back to work during such a precocious period is stressful on its own without having to worry about productivity. Management should be told not to worry about unusually low levels of productivity, as it is going to take time before sales bounce back.
Since you are expecting the company to underperform, there is no reason that anyone feels stressed out. They are back their posts, doing the best that they can, given the circumstances, and that should suffice for now. In this sense, the mental health of your staff is just as important as their physical health.
Establish a crisis fund
As you might have noticed, the coronavirus pandemic hit quite suddenly; in economic terms, the event virtually happened overnight. Many people were sent home and had to manage without pay for several months. For those workers who didn’t have a crisis fund ready, and two-fifths of all Americans could not cope with a sudden 400-dollar expense, the situation quickly turned dire.
Home finances and the company’s finances are not much different in terms of the necessity of a contingency budget. In case of another crisis event, the extra funds you set aside now would be used to keep the company solvent and pay out workers’ remuneration. This would make everyone working for you feel more at ease.
“How are things back home?”
Finally, don’t forget that each crisis, whether it’s health or economic, has a human face to it. Sure, placing hand sanitizers in hallways will prevent people from catching with the flu or COVID-19 but have you asked the people you work with how they and their families have been these couple of months?
Even if they were just fine, workers are going to appreciate you asked them this question because it conveys a sense of genuine care. Knowing that someone from top management is interested in their well-being, makes every worker feel safe returning to work.
Going back to work after several months is scary both for employers and their workers. Everyone will be cautious during those first couple of days, so it is up to managers to make the staff feel safe as they were before the crisis.