Consider these innovative ways to show employees that their safety is a top priority…now and into the future.
Your employees and colleagues, whether they’ve been working onsite or functioning remotely, increasingly will look to organizational leaders to keep them safe and healthy in the months (and years) ahead. This means going beyond business as usual; and it will take more than hand sanitizer dispensers in the lobby and the break room. Don’t wait until a second wave of COVID-19 or another health crisis hits to strategically plan for the new normal of workplace safety.
By planning now, you can identify some easy, inexpensive things you can do now and budget for more costly efforts that will take time to complete. Here are a few options:
- Plexiglass barriers. These are fairly inexpensive and can be easily mounted on desks, kiosks, and other locations. Some have hand sanitizer dispensers or space for them built in.
- Tall laminate gallery panels between workstations. These prevent physical contact and protect against the spread of airborne particles, but workers can still see and talk to each other.
- Furniture that is easy to sanitize. Consider furniture with bleach-cleanable fabrics that don’t weaken, tear, or fade when exposed to disinfectant cleaning products.
- The use of air filters that push air down instead of up.
- Repositioning of desks to create more space between workers.
- Access to outdoor spaces that protect against rain, wind, and cold but enable meetings and other activities.
- Windows that open for greater air flow.
- The use of UV-C lighting to disinfect rooms, clothing, and equipment.
- Free access to masks/face covers, especially for employees who take public transportation to work.
- No-touch faucets, lighting, and door locks/entry.
- Dedicated ‘Zoom’ rooms with large screens and state-of-the-art sounds systems to allow for more remote meetings/conferences.
Technology can help you determine what changes are likely to be most effective. For instance, there are data-tracking applications to collect analytics about how workers move around the office. This information can help you identify strategies for maximizing space and energy use.
Let’s face it. The old ways of doing things – greeting with handshakes, gathering by the coffee maker, sharing morning donuts in the break room – are gone for the foreseeable future. We all need to be innovative, establish new rituals and traditions, and find new ways to connect and engage. Start by showing employees – and prospective hires – that their safety and comfort are your top priorities.