As states begin to open back up amid the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many organizations are starting to plan to return to the workplace. Each employer is ultimately responsible for workplace safety. Assessment of risk, careful planning, and smart communication during this transition will limit further disruptions to your operation. Our infection control specialists have organized some tips for preparing to return to the workplace:
1. Create a strategic plan. Develop a logical strategy before bringing staff through the door. This plan is your roadmap to success — make sure it is a plan that you can follow. A strong return-to-work plan should describe key factors, such as the number of team members working in one facility, the ability to stay in compliance with social distancing requirements, and sanitation protocols. Plan to do it right the first time.
2. Update other policies and procedures. Review existing written policies and procedures to determine whether they are still relevant and in-line with your strategic plan. Edit policies/procedures that contradict your strategic plan, as they will only serve to confuse management and employees. Carry the guidelines developed during planning through to your other plans and retire policies that no longer serve your workplace.
3. Communicate with your staff. A well-executed strategic plan requires clear and unambiguous communication. The success of your organization’s return-to-work plan relies largely on the cooperation of your employees. Without effective communication, the best laid plans will fail. Distribute updated policies and procedures to your employees so they are aware of all changes. Provide details on your plan through open communication with your employees via email and conference calls. Understand that employees may have their own concerns and questions, which must be addressed for successful implementation of a corporate strategy. Holding a virtual meeting with staff to go over your procedures for returning to the workplace is a great way to communicate the transition and answer questions.
4. Be proactive about restoring a productive work environment. Implementing your strategic plan may require accommodating changes in your employees’ routines. They may have become used to a flexible work schedule without a commute. Others may not have access to reliable childcare. Proactively address these issues to limit impacts to workplace productivity. Consider allowing a more flexible schedule for the first couple of weeks of the transition. Provide personal protective equipment, sanitation supplies, and other safety measures on the first day back so that employees can do their jobs efficiently and effectively.
5. Work with a firm that specializes in infection prevention. Remain vigilant about your infection control response, from the first day until the pandemic is controlled. Hire professionals that specialize in infection prevention to support your organization during this transition. A company that specializes in infection risk mitigation can help ensure your facility is a safe environment and maintains that safety as more staff members return.
Managing risk in your workplace through facility-specific strategies provides your management the clarity to continue operations and demonstrates proactive measures to protect worker safety.
Aarcher provides infection prevention services to help your staff return to the workplace. We perform assessments of facilitates to document the status of workplace conditions and systems affecting potential employee exposure to pathogens. Aarcher’s credentialed team of Certified Industrial Hygienists gives you the path forward and provides your workforce the peace-of-mind to continue facility operations. Our recommendations can be tailored to all human contagions, including coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) (causing COVID-19), influenza (flu), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), H1N1 Influenza Virus (Swine Flu), and various harmful bacteria.
Aarcher is currently scheduling facility assessments and infection prevention strategy development anywhere in the United States. Contact us to discuss your organizational needs.
Getting Back to Work in Uncertain Times – Guidelines for Employers, Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP, SGRLaw.com.
Returning to Work After the COVID-19 Pandemic: A 6-Step Plan, Ann Snook, i-Sight.