As employers and their HR departments transition employees back into the workplace following the coronavirus shutdown, there are important factors and variables unique to each situation, but safety policies and procedures are important for all.
While businesses prepare for employees to return, it’s important for employers to establish and communicate clear company safety policies/procedures so that employees, vendors, and customers will feel safe returning to the facility. This should include reviewing the company’s physical location and layout to determine the safety policies that should be in place for all. Consider the following before opening your place of business.
Step 1: Determine barriers and obstacles in the physical space that need to be addressed including:
- Reconfiguring the workspace or building to follow local regulations and recommendations including such areas as the breakroom, conference room, offices, lobby, etc.
- Installing physical barriers where needed
- Providing hand washing stations and hand sanitizer through the premises
- Assigning specific entrances to employees to reduce congestion
- Marking the premises for social distancing
- Minimizing physical contact between employees
- Cleaning and disinfecting the proper building areas regularly
- Putting up signs with new safety procedures for employees and customers
- Understanding the local regulations and recommendations
- Determining if employees should continue to work from home or return to the office
Step 2: Determine if you need to implement new workplace policies, including:
- Updating leave policies
- Employee wellness checklists
- Checking individuals’ temperature as they arrive
- Honor System – Requiring employees to check their temperature on their own for the foreseeable future.
- Safety policies requiring face coverings or other PPE depending on the type of business
- Follow local regulations and recommendations, including recommendations for your type of business.
- Personal hygiene policies
- Frequent handwashing
- Use of sanitizer
- Social distancing expectations
- Policies for dealing with employees in high risks categories and/or with childcare challenges, including
- Employees aged 65 and older
- Those with chronic health conditions
- Creating and displaying the safety policy for visitors, vendors, and/or customers in the workplace.
Step 3: Communicate your policy/procedure changes before employees, visitors, vendors, and/or customers return to the facility.
- Meet with employees prior to their return to discuss the workplace changes that will be implemented and the expectations that employees will comply with these new policies/procedures.
- Email and post new policies/procedures for all employees so they will have access to the information when they need it or need a reminder.
- Post safety guideline signs at each entrance where visitors, vendors, and/or customers will be entering that clearly communicate the guidelines to be followed while in the facility.
- Follow up regularly with employees to monitor compliance and inquire if there are any concerns.
During the process of reopening your place of business, it will be important to be transparent and clearly communicate with employees, visitors, vendors, and/or customers what your safety policies are. Set clear expectations so that all parties can be held accountable for following the protocols and to help ensure the safety of all.
For assistance in preparing your business/employees to return to work during the shutdown reopening contact Close HR Connections.