The Human Resource professionals would have never been so busy as during the COVID crisis. They have come out as the most important part of the organizations motivating, developing and mentoring employees, thus creating a great work culture during this tough time. This crisis has challenged the top leadership and managers to think about new ways of working and inspire the employees who have not seen each others in person for weeks. Businesses have started to focus more on employee wellbeing as more people are expected to go through sickness, anxiety and mental problems.
We all wish that life gets back to normal and we get back to our social life in community, schools and offices, but rather it looks that “back to normal” thing is not going to happen anytime soon. The new normal post COVID scenario would be to adhere to the new social distancing rules that applies everywhere including our workplaces too. In this article, we will be discussing about 5 ways to prepare your workplace for the life post COVID pandemic.
Preparing your Workplace post Covid-19
The World Health Organization (WHO) had published a press release in the month of March this year with tips on simple and cost-effective measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the workplaces. These measures included steps like making the workplace clean and hygienic, promoting regular and thorough hand washing by employees, employers and customer, use of good respiratory hygiene at workplace, etc. Though these tips are useful to avoid the spread of the virus in the workplace, what after this pandemic settles down? Are we going to get back to normal? Definitely no! Our “new normal” will be on a set of unavoidable rules based on certain restructurings as mentioned below:
1. Organizational design
Probably this pandemic has brought to us a once in a lifetime opportunity to restructure our work, change the rules of organizational engagement, create new operating models that gives the company both increased efficiency as well as a culture that’s more inclusive. The office environment will need to have seats at least 6 feet apart. Ideas can be taken from the Cushman & Wakefield, a global real estate services firm who started the 6 Feet Office Project, which aims at getting the world back to normal as soon as possible.
There is going to be a lot pf pressure on the organization to act fast and adapt to this new design. However, the HR leaders need to educate their coworkers to see the situation as a reinvention moment.
2. Use of technology
From Artificial intelligence, face recognition techs to smart wearables – technology is going to be at the forefront, once the employees start going back to work. A lot of events that required large gatherings will now be limited to online events happening digitally. By using enhanced surveillance to fast processing devices, organizations will be trying to make their workplaces not only secure but also serve their clients in a different manner. There are usually a lot of objects that are frequently touched by the employees at the workplace. This can be avoided or reduced through the use of interconnected devices and light sensors to avoid the risk to the maximum.
Companies should use technology to provide a great experience to the employees, where they are tech-enabled and have proper set of tools to do their jobs.
3. Sanitation & disinfection
The organization should take the responsibility to ensure safe working environment for its employees by providing things like wipes and cleaning products so that they can clean their desks before and after the completion of their works. The company must also ensure that the common use spaces be cleaned frequently, soaps and other cleaning facilities be provided to employees and last but not the least install sign boards that reminds the workers to regularly sanitize and disinfect themselves and their work stations.
4. Lunch breaks
Lunch breaks in offices are usually deigned to relax and recharge after half days of work at office. This used to be the time when employees used to socialize and talk about their concerns and other stuffs to other friends and colleagues. However, things need to change now. The social distancing rules applies here as well. Some of the companies have already suggested to their employees to have their lunch meals either in their cars or outside the office canteens in order to free up chairs and maintain the minimum required distance.
5. Providing PPE (if required)
The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be provided to the employees where the work conditions are such that the social distancing is difficult to maintain. The PPE’s are equipments that protect the user from the health and safety risks at work. Some of the items that are included in the PPE are the safety helmets, eye protection gears, hand gloves, face masks, safety footwears etc. Employees who come in close contacts with the customers, or those of whom who are exposed to people with known any flu symptoms or infection should be provided with these equipment.
The post COVID era will require many considerations to be made by the organizations to ensure that both their employees as well as their clients remain safe. It’s quite possible that the “new normal” of 6 feet economy could be waiting for few of us if not all, as we get ourselves ready to work post the COVID pandemic. It is not just the responsibility of the employer but also the employees to adhere to all these rules so that businesses resume back in the most effective manner. The sooner we accept these changes and start preparing for it, the higher are our chances of success.