Making the decision to re-open is weighing heavily on many business owners right now, and making the decision is only the first step. There are many factors to consider before you welcome your employees and customers back, and we’re here to help you navigate your re-opening with confidence.
Know your local jurisdictions guidelines
Before you re-open your doors, you need to make sure you are equipped to follow the safety guidelines of your local jurisdiction. If your company or organization spans across several provinces, states, or countries you‘ll need to be up to date in each region. At Fairware, we’re looking to WorkSafe BC to help guide our opening procedures.
Communicate new policies with your employees and customers, stressing the importance of health and safety
Many consumers and employees will be wary of being in an enclosed space with other individuals, so clearly communicating the measures you’re taking will help put people at ease. Don’t leave any grey area open for interpretation while the health of those around you are at risk.
Don’t assume everyone feels safe enough to come back
Even with the best safety protocols in place, it’s likely you’ll have employees who won’t feel safe to return to work right away. Check in with your team with a simple survey to gauge how they feel about returning. Identify who may have family or roommates who are vulnerable. Be accommodating to those who wish to stay home, and start working out how you’ll manage operations if many people still want to work from home. You’ll also need to know how you’ll treat all employees fairly in this case.
Support your employees
Many people are feeling anxious about leaving the house, let alone returning to work. Provide them with the support they need to stay healthy, mentally. If you offer mental health support through your benefits package, make sure everyone has the information they need to easily access it. Consider welcoming staff back to work with some basic personal protective equipment (PPE) along with a card that outlines available mental health resources.
Provide each employee with their own PPE kit
Have a PPE kit waiting on each person’s desk for their return to work. Bundle a personal hand sanitizer bottle, at least one general purpose face mask, and a touch tool so everyone will have the tools they need to keep themselves safe in the office. In addition to providing employees with their own PPE, make sure you have sanitization stations placed in high touch areas. Order PPE through our shop.
Don’t assume people know how to use the PPE you’ve provided
Make sure your staff know how to properly put on and take off their PPE. If you’re providing them with general purpose face masks that can be washed and re-used, educate people on how to wash them.
Employee health monitoring
Develop a plan for how you will monitor your employee’s health when they return to the office, with a focus on Covid-19 symptoms. Make sure everyone is aware of your sick-leave policies and encourage people to stay home if they’re not feeling well. In case someone does get sick, ensure everyone knows the procedure you’ve set in place for how to manage the situation. Look to your local health authorities, such as OSHA for recommendations on how to manage and isolate employees experiencing Covid-19 symptoms.
Have a plan for social distancing
Don’t assume it will be easy to keep your distance from one another. While it sounds simple, keeping a 6-foot distance from everyone at all times can actually be quite challenging. Move desks apart from one another as needed. Consider changing communal restrooms into one person bathrooms and have people wait in the hallway. Map out your office and change hallways to one-way traffic only, wherever possible. Many workplaces are shutting down their kitchens and coffee areas to minimize contact. We’re also seeing a rise in re-usable lunch kits, water bottles and travel mugs with a space to personalize them so workers know who they belong to.
Know how to welcome visitors into your space
You don’t want to be caught off guard when someone pops by to pick up a package, meet with a colleague, or browse your product. Have a plan in place so that your whole team knows how to react when a third-party visitor walks in. Have signage at your door so visitors know what to expect from you as well. You may also want to have a sanitization station at the front entrance for these encounters.