This health crisis has been going on long enough for businesses of all shapes and sizes to take notice. No matter if you have a small operation with merely a handful of people or you have a large-scale coffee shop under your management, preventing outbreaks in the middle of the pandemic can be more than tricky: it can affect your productivity, employee happiness, your reputation in your industry, and your bottom line.
That is why so many companies have started getting creative in the past few months to find more effective preventative measures and to improve health and safety in the workplace. Among a myriad of choices at your disposal, the following five show the most promise in keeping your business under control and enabling you to sustain your operations safely. Here’s what you can do to keep your workplace healthy, safe, and your teams happy!
Regular audits and surveys
Sometimes even the finest of strategies can turn out not to fit the bill when the pandemic hits. The current circumstances are extremely unpredictable, so most companies need to continuously revisit their policies. In order to spot those imperfections and prevent incidents in the workplace, you need to reassess your business processes, including risk management, health and safety regulations, employee compliance, etc.
Conduct employee surveys to see how they perceive the workplace and if they have noticed any issues with your health and safety levels at the office. Let them share their feedback with you, as people in different departments will notice office-specific issues you might miss in your own audits. Even checking the basics such as your employees’ access to essential hygiene items (hand sanitizer, soap, wet wipes, masks) can help elevate the safety at your workplace and put your employees at ease.
Employee training and education
Every industry has very specific demands when it comes to health and safety, and depending on your local rules and regulations, you also have very specific compliance needs. Your warehouse staff needs more stringent regulations while operating heavy machinery and stacks of products, while your accounting department sits comfortably at the office. That is why no two departments can have the same, cookie-cutter training, and as your processes evolve, so should the training manual.
With that in mind, conduct regular workshops and seminars with your staff to give them the latest information and skills to ensure their own safety and health. By embracing their role in prevention and workplace health and safety, they’ll be better equipped to handle difficult scenarios and act preemptively within their roles.
Using tech to your advantage
Innovative solutions of all kinds have started popping up around every corner, as more tech companies are trying their best to mitigate the pandemic-caused damage and help entire industries cope with this crisis. For instance, more companies have started using contactless thermometers at the office to check if anyone has a fever, as well as contactless biometrics for employee authentication.
However, a specific problem has emerged during the pandemic: tracking employee interactions to reduce infections, implement social distancing rules, and keeping people in the loop. Once again, tech has saved the day, as companies can now assign each employee their own covid contact tracing card that will keep track of their movements at the office. This helps tremendously as the card will register close interactions, safe distances at which people should stay, and help companies notify people if they’ve been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with an infection.
Help your teams with mental health
Another core aspect of health and safety that too many companies have neglected too often in the past is the mental health of your employees. From preventing burnout at the office, all the way to ensuring that your employees lead a balanced life and don’t feel pressured to work extra long hours to impress you, your culture will define how you tackle mental health.
The least you can do is check in with your staff. Ask them how they feel when you speak to them one-on-one and take a moment to acknowledge if they are going through something. Go beyond that and offer them help in the form of professional counseling. Give them a few days off, or encourage them to take a leave of absence if that’s what will help them feel better. Offer them the flexibility they need to focus on their wellbeing, and they’ll be all the happier for it.
Look into incidents and tailor your policies
Has someone slipped at the office recently? What about catching a cold? Do people feel like your office is a safe place to spend time, and is the office cleaned regularly? Asking these and many other questions regularly can help you learn from your mistakes and use incidents as opportunities to improve your business processes.
Conduct inspections and make sure that you have done everything in your power to prevent future incidents of the same kind – maybe adding non-slip carpeting or reorganizing your cords can help. Maybe adding safety signs and warnings will keep your employees alert and your business legally protected.
Different industries will always call for adapted strategies to ensure safety and health in the workplace. Now that your workplace most likely extends to home offices and remote collaboration, as well, it’s time to get creative and find all-encompassing ways to make sure your business is doing everything in its power to stay on the right track. Let these guidelines help you achieve your health and safety goals, and persevere through this crisis.