Coronavirus outbreak sparked off a lockdown that has significantly affected how we work. The re-opening of offices on May 12th came with various changes. Enforcing these changes ensures a safe working environment for staff and customers. Besides, some of these safety measures are likely to stay during the post-pandemic period.
Every business owner has to adhere to these rules to make their workplace safer for employees. These changes in the work environment might require adjusting the physical layout of the office. Positively, the coronavirus outbreak has exposed a lot about the importance of safety in the workplace. However, implementing these new safety measures comes with an effect on office policies and work style.
Changes in the workplace introduced by COVID-19
Offices and other workplaces are ensuring social distancing as a safety measure to curb the spread of coronavirus. This requires replacing office furniture and layout to create extra space for employees. With this, a budget for new office furniture is required. People have to stay two meters apart meaning that places like banks have to adjust their desks to become individual rows. Accomplishing this requires desk dividers to offer the later of separation required for social distancing.
A single-way system is necessary to implement social distancing in tighter spaces. Effort is required to ensure that teams and organizations still work collaboratively without compromising social distancing. Apart from wearing masks, getting new desks with enough space from a reputable office table supplier in Singapore is necessary. This allows making everyone to feel supported while still working together.
Companies are adapting to agile working with offices closed on some days of the week. Some of the employees who prefer working from home can permanently work remotely. Flexible working is vital to allow employees to choose a work schedule that matches their lifestyle. The beginning of the lockdown forced some businesses to invest in technology and software that allows teams to work remotely.
Flexible working is good financially and for the mental and physical wellbeing of your staff. There is also a likelihood of some employees working in shifts or split teams to maintain social distancing in the workplace. Adhering to the one-meter social distancing requirement is possible with few employees in the workplace.
Heavy reliance on technology
The right technology allows maintaining safety in the workplace and keeping business processes going on including remotely. Onsite temperature checks are required for employees at least daily. This requires investing in thermal cameras or handheld thermometers to screen the temperature of anyone coming to your office.
Additionally, the right technology is required to allow working remotely and meeting clients while maintaining social distancing. Office environments are becoming increasingly digital with improved computers, modern work processes, and advanced tech support. The initial investment in this seems expensive with businesses striving to get back on their feet. However, it is necessary to support flexible work requirements.
Stringent employee checks
For employees who still report to the office, medical and travel checks are very important. Employees have to declare travel history before accessing the business premises. Additionally, employers should not have received isolation or quarantine orders, respiratory symptoms medical certificates, and stay-home notices. Equally important is for the employees not to have got into close contact with confirmed COVID-19 positive cases. Employers have to keep this information for about 28 days.
Demarcating spaces for social distancing
Common places in the workplace need demarcate spaces that ensure social distancing. This is possible with the use of high barriers in common places like pantries and lifts. Additionally, demarcated social distancing spaces are necessary to show customers and visitors where to stand while in the queue. The use of contactless payment methods and self-ordering options is necessary for the effective management of customers in queues.
Emphasis on cleaning
All office environments need more than regular cleaning today. Scheduled cleaning shifts are now more regular with stringent rules in communal areas. Sanitization stations with alcohol-based sanitizers are now common in most corners in the office, especially at entry points. Each desk needs hand gel to clean the computer and other peripherals.
Hiring professional commercial services is essential to guarantee safe cleaning and sanitization in the workplace. This involves regular cleaning all common spaces especially washrooms, waiting rooms, and commonly touched objects. Disinfection of shared equipment and machinery is very important more than ever. The handwashing and toilets need a regular supply of washing soap and toilet paper since people are using it more than ever.
One of the measures to curb the spread of coronavirus in Singapore is for everyone to download a contact-tracing app, TraceTogether. Employers should encourage their staff to download this app. Contact tracing allows tracing people who have been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case. Equally important is to enforce SafeEntry, a national digital check-in system for recording all entries and exits of employees and visitors to the office.
Mandatory medical checks
Employers should ensure that all employees visit a clinic for a checkup. Additionally, employees should report to the doctor during the visit of any coronavirus related symptoms. Employees who still report to the office have to submit clinical records of their diagnoses regarding COVID-19 related symptoms to employers. Those who test for coronavirus have to submit results with an evacuation plan prepared to handle employees suspected to have the virus.
Keeping business afloat amid these trying moments requires adhering to the safety guidelines. Part of these requires improving your furniture to match social distancing requirements.
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