COVID-19 has altered life everywhere. Lockdowns are easing, and offices will begin to reopen. But things are different now, and we can’t just snap back into old ways. Even though officials may greenlight the economy’s reopening, the virus is still with us, it’s still deadly, and doctors have yet to develop a safe, effective vaccine. As such, we must do things differently, especially in office spaces.
So let’s take a look at four things every workplace should implement to safeguard their staff, customers, and clients.
Divide And Conquer: Separate Work Spaces And The Right Equipment
Gone are the days of cramming as many work spaces into a room as possible. To lessen the contagion curve, we must continue social distancing for the foreseeable future. For offices, that means spreading out. Stations should be at least 6 feet apart, and, if possible, separated with plexiglass or other types of non-porous dividers.
Everyone in the office should wear face masks and gloves. Ideally, the office should maintain an on-site supply in the event someone forgets their gear. Also, post signs reminding employees, clients, and customers to wash their hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and hot water.
Shine Like The Chrysler Building: Implement Hannigan-Approved Cleaning Directives
In the iconic musical “Annie,” the surly foster mother, Miss Hannigan, commands Annie and the crew to make the orphanage “shine like the top of the Chrysler Building.” In these ‘rona times, you, too, should heed Hannigan’s command.
Keeping spaces immaculate goes a long way in keeping people corona-free. After all, germs and viruses don’t last long when bombarded with hourly disinfectant grenades.
Make office cleaning a communal responsibility. Encourage everyone, from the CEO on down, to pitch in. Keep alcohol wipes around the office, and remind your team to rub down surfaces once an hour. It may seem excessive, but hypervigilance is how we’ll get through the pandemic and come out stronger on the other side.
Cutting The Crowds: Control Your Population
As we’ve already mentioned, social distancing is key to weathering the COVID-19 storm. Subsequently, it’s imperative to limit the number of people in one place at one time. For offices, that means staggering shifts and scheduling in-office visits one at a time.
Moreover, before anyone steps foot in the office, they should have a temperature check. Politely explain to people with temps over 99 degrees that, for the time being, you’re taking reasonable precautions and can’t permit them entry. Unless the person can prove they have a naturally high temperature, invite them to set up a video call instead of a face-to-face meeting.
It’s also a good idea to welcome telecommuting. Since lockdown, we’ve learned that people can get just as much done at home as they do in the office. Some folks get even more done in the peace and comfort of their abodes. So if employees want to work from home, let them! In these times, it’s a feature, not a bug.
Communication Is Key: Re-teaching Ourselves How To Talk
Communication skills will be imperative as we navigate the economy’s reopening. Business owners will need to explain new rules and expectations to both employees and clients. Governments will need to roll out new guidelines and enforcement measures. Customers and clients will need to reveal information about their lives that may feel intrusive, like health details, travel schedules, and their proximity to immune-compromised persons. Additionally, in the event of a symptomatic flare-up, for contact-tracing purposes, office visitors must keep the lines of health communication open for two weeks following visits.
As such, it’s wise to brush up on your communication skills. Read up on how to make people more comfortable. Watch some YouTube videos on how to curb aggressiveness. Remember, everyone is on edge, so the more soothing and non-threatening you can be, the better.
We’re living through unprecedented times, and unusual circumstances call for extraordinary measures. By implementing a handful of extreme protocols, we’ll survive this pandemic together and emerge stronger.