There’s no doubt about it, the past 18 months have been tough for all businesses as the world battled against the coronavirus pandemic. As society tentatively attempts to get back on track following extensive periods of lockdown, you may be looking forward to welcoming customers and staff back into your premises and for normal business to be resumed.
However, to survive in the post-covid era, companies have to ensure that their protocols are covid safe to help prevent the further spread of the virus. Here is a guide for creating a covid safe working environment in which your business can survive and thrive.
Consider Mandatory Covid Vaccinations for Staff
Vaccination offers protection against the virus; however, as the vaccination rollout continues down the age groups, data shows that a great number have turned down the offer of a vaccine. Some companies have tried to combat this by making covid vaccinations mandatory for all staff to protect customers and colleagues.
When all staff is on board with this policy, the results can be remarkable, as demonstrated by Pimlico Plumbers, who are set to celebrate the record year with a bumper revenue despite the challenges of covid.
Protect Vulnerable Employees
Certain members of your team might be more vulnerable to the virus than others, and as a responsible employer, you should do what you can to protect them. They might, for instance, be older or living with a chronic condition that compromises their overall health, such as diabetes or asthma.
Or, they might have a customer-facing role, such as a sales assistant, that puts them at risk of coming across the virus. Ensure that adequate PPE is provided – and regularly replaced – to help protect vulnerable employees, for example, providing gloves, gowns, and clear visors.
Facilitate Social Distancing in Your Workspace
While in the days pre-covid, you may have been used to working in a cramped office surrounded by colleagues and visitors, that is no longer possible in today’s world. Social distance should be maintained between colleagues and customers in your workspace to help prevent the spread of the virus. Achieving this may necessitate reorganizations and renovations in your office.
For instance, desks may need to be spread out, and working from home rota put in place to reduce the number of people working in the office. You should also implement a one-way system to guide people throughout your premises while preventing unnecessary contact by passing in the corridors.
Conduct a Phased Return to the Office
Though the office is a huge part of business culture and many people are looking forward to reconnecting with their colleagues in person, you might want to consider conducting a phased return to the office to help keep social contact to a minimum and prevent the spread of the virus until all staff members have been vaccinated.
A phased return would be particularly sensible if your office space is small and cramped to help facilitate adequate social distancing. Do this by creating an office work rota and encouraging staff to work from home whenever possible.
For example, you may only allow up to ten members of staff working in the office at any given time and require staff to reserve a time slot if they do want to work in the office.
Keep Up with Cleanliness
Hygiene and cleanliness in the workplace have never been more important. Place tubs of gel hand sanitizer strategically around your office and make it mandatory for people to use them when entering and exiting the workspace.
You should also thoroughly clean surfaces on a regular basis, using wipes and disinfectant spray. You might want to consider adding in some renovations that provide an easily cleanable and hygienic surface, such as plastic chair covers and Perspex desk divider screens.
Continue to Update Your Covid Risk Assessment
Before your business reopened following lockdown, you should have completed a covid risk assessment to identify the extra measures around social distancing and hygiene that needed to be implemented to protect your workforce and customers.
You must continue to assess and update your covid risk assessment to take into account any feedback and new risks that may arise. For instance, you may find that your one-way system needs to be tweaked to remove a bottleneck in the corridor.
Doing this can ensure that the working environment continues to be a safe and hygienic location in which your staff can comfortably work in the future.