“It’s time to put up the ‘Welcome Back’ banner,” exclaims the manager of a business center in Mumbai, ”but the challenge is starting operations with minimum risk to our employees.”
Business centers across the country –in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, and Delhi—are all facing a similar challenge. Fortunately, returning to the workplace can be made smooth and stress-free. Here are some guidelines that organizations can follow to move from crisis to recovery.
- Comply with the rules and regulations as they apply to your specific State. Regulations are not relaxed in unison so make sure you have the right ones in place.
- Institute new protocols for deep cleansing and sanitization throughout the office and ensure that they are strictly followed.
- Make sure there are clear guidelines on the use of personal protective equipment. A ready supply of masks and gloves should be available at all times.
- Keep hand sanitizers within easy reach. Make sure they are always kept re-filled.
- Ensure procedures for temperature checking of employees and visitors.
- Set up a treatment area with a nurse in attendance for people who feel unwell in the office. Display phone numbers of doctors who can be called upon in an emergency.
- Allow paid sick leave to employees who show any sign of infection. Keep them working from home till fully recovered.
- Establish rules governing employees who return to work after recovering from infection.
- Put in place norms for contact tracing.
- Adopt changes in the layout of the workspace. Moving workstations further apart is a simple and effective way to enforce social distancing.
- Have comfortable and inviting breakout areas in the workplace to make the transition from working from home easier.
- Change work schedules to reduce the number of persons in the office at one time.
- Stagger lunch hours to make sure that people are not in close proximity to each other in the lunchroom or cafeteria.
- Initially, bring only employees who really need to be in the office back and let the others continue to work remotely
Follow these guidelines and you will be able to get your business back on track in a short span of time. Productivity will increase. And employees will once again feel the joy and satisfaction of interacting with colleagues face-to-face. Get your employees to buy into these guidelines. A collaborative approach has the best chance of success.