How to keep your team protected when they return to work

Turning Points 2 min read

In recent months, the coronavirus pandemic has had a serious impact on companies all over the world. To prevent the spread of the virus, many companies had to transition to remote work.

Now, to ensure the continued safety of team members, employers should respond to the challenges at hand as business operations gradually resume. Recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention state that all employers should implement and update a plan specific to their workplace. This is regarding all areas and jobs with potential exposure to COVID-19, as well as creating measures to eliminate or reduce this risk.

Here are four ways that employers can ensure that their team stays protected when returning to work during these unprecedented times.

1. Make the workplace safe and offer flexibility

All workplaces, equipment, and facilities in use need to be sanitized on a daily basis. This requires hiring or training janitorial staff equipped with personal protection equipment to carry out these activities.

The International Labor Organization claims that businesses should pay particular attention to high touch and high traffic areas, including:

  • Lockers
  • Corridors
  • Smoking areas
  • Shared desks
  • Light switches
  • Handrails
  • Buttons

If your workplace is particularly crowded, reorganizing desks and instituting a partially remote work policy may also be prudent.

2. Encourage safe hygiene measures in line with public health measures

To further promote the physical safety of your team, the National Safety Council provides a series of useful checklists that employers should review. This includes establishing guidelines regarding the proper disposal of face masks and gloves, as well as protocols for cleaning and disinfecting if they are reused.

Employees should also be guided by clear visual cues and signage that encourages social distancing, along with extensive policy training before their return. Any screening procedures, as well as tracking and tracing measures, should be planned and communicated to give team members greater peace of mind.

3. Teach colleagues and leaders to provide support for fellow employees

As companies reopen, they’ll rely heavily on their HR team. Today’s HR professionals are taught to handle difficult situations like these, as they’re equipped with knowledge concerning labor relations and negotiations.

Graduates who studied human resources management learn how to attract and retain employees who add value to the team, boosting company morale in the process. In addition, providing mental health benefits, such as access to counseling and mindfulness workshops will help team members cope more effectively with the impacts of emotional distress and mental strain.

4. Provide timely updates and full transparency

In order to manage re-entry anxiety, leaders should ensure that they regularly communicate with their employees and colleagues to maintain an atmosphere of trust and safety.

Keeping the lines of communication open ensures a smoother transition as employees adjust to the new normal. Helping your team stay mentally and physically well in this situation also  increases overall productivity and makes for a more positive work environment. Conducting regular surveys to hear their feedback and address their difficulties with the new situation gets your team back on track.

When it comes down to it, paying attention to the overall well-being of your team and ensuring that you have a detailed plan in place limits any unwelcome surprises amid the growing pandemic.

Investing in workers’ compensation insurance will also help protect your business while ensuring that your team is financially covered for any work-related issues. At the end of the day, the actions you choose to take during this crucial period set the scene for your business in the coming years.

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