Managing New Safety & Wellbeing Expectations
Contributed by Michael Arrington, Client Relations Executive
Reassure Employees for Safe Return-to-Office in Uncertain Times
According to a survey of US employees by The Conference Board conducted in September 2020, only 17 percent feel very comfortable returning – and even want to return. 70 percent indicated that they are only moderately comfortable returning, if at all. The apprehension is based on health and safety concerns as the pandemic continues to impact personal and professional lives across the world. As a result, businesses are realizing that employee engagement has become more important than ever before. Business performance relies heavily on employee productivity and engagement, but it also requires employers to recognize and meet the new expectations of their employees.
As the pandemic has made it necessary for businesses in all industries to revisit their standard practices to include new health guidelines and SOPs, it is equally important to reassure employees that the workplace is safe for them to return to. Some of the important aspects of building trust among employees before re-opening offices include:
Risk Assessment – As different regions and locations are gaining permission to resume business operations, it remains critical that each business thoroughly analyzes the risk situation based on its operational scope and local area outbreak situation.
Re-Opening in Phases – For non-essential businesses, re-opening offices should require a plan to have employees return to work gradually and not all at once. Re-opening in phases with a few selected employees returning at a time makes it possible to ensure social distancing at workplace, reduce risk of exposure among employees, and efficiently mitigate outbreak risk.
Important Plan and Actions – All businesses must develop a plan to ensure social distancing at workplace for employee health and safety. Sanitization stations at small distances along with rearranged office furniture for physical distancing are both essential actions prior to reopening offices.
Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocols – It has become increasingly challenging for businesses to self-perform cleaning protocols that can effectively maintain a safe, infection-free facility at all times. In reality, the basic cleaning standards must be enhanced because deep cleaning and disinfecting are no longer acceptable to be performed infrequently. Outsourcing the facilities maintenance function to a professional service provider with integrated and enhanced solutions is now considered a necessity but most businesses. Facilities maintenance companies that work with the business philosophy of partnering with a customer instead of delivering services as a vendor have gained momentum over the past several months. These companies are capable to not only ensure that offices re-open safely but also maintain facilities with focus on infection prevention and control, employee health and safety, and compliance with public health guidelines.
Diversified Maintenance continues to improve its service offering to meet the stringent requirements in the ‘new normal’ business environment. Partnering with vendors that provide approved cleaning and disinfecting products, developing enhanced training programs for new and current employees, introducing new preventive and restorative services, are among the many critical measures taken by the Company during the pandemic. To learn more about safe return-to-office strategies for your valued employees, send me a note at Michael Arrington firstname.lastname@example.org.