Even with the vaccine rollout, businesses continue to grapple with the question of whether it’s wise to keep workplaces open or partially open during an ongoing pandemic. Though the initial outbreak happened over two years ago, the virus continues to persist, making it a challenging task to safeguard both employees and businesses. This is a matter of extreme concern that requires careful consideration.
Businesses are still facing numerous challenges and it’s likely that some may not be fully informed about all the factors that need to be considered. In an effort to assist with this issue, we have put together a list of important factors that should form the foundation for evaluating health and safety, monitoring employees, and establishing a healthy work environment – all critical components for any business. Although this list may not include everything, it’s a solid starting point to guide the process.
Create Fresh Regulations
Establishing guidelines that employees must adhere to is imperative for guaranteeing a safe return to the workplace. To offer assistance in this regard, the following measures should be taken into account:
Mandatory vaccinations.Determining what’s best for your business can be an overwhelming task. It’s crucial to take the viewpoints of your employees into account, as some may object to specific requirements while others may find a lack of regulations unacceptable. It’s impossible to cover all the intricacies of this decision in a single article, but there are numerous resources available to guide you in making the most suitable decision for your company.
COVID-19 tests.Irrespective of the decision made concerning vaccinations, it’s recommended to mandate COVID-19 testing for all employees and anyone else who comes into contact with the business.
Individual health assessments.Introducing a system that allows team members to report their symptoms and other relevant information is an efficient means of reducing the likelihood of them coming to work if they’ve been in contact with someone who may have contracted the virus.
Mandatory mask-wearing.Masks continue to be an effective method of curtailing the spread of the virus and are a cost-effective measure that most businesses can mandate for their office staff. Nevertheless, companies with a dispersed workforce comprising of solely vaccinated employees may have valid reasons for not enforcing this measure.
Functioning bathrooms with running water and flushing toilets.Providing sanitation stations that include essentials like masks and hand sanitizer could foster a secure and hygienic environment. It would be advantageous to have these stations positioned throughout the workplace.
Verifying Meeting Room Availability in the Office (Hotelling).Social distancing continues to be an efficacious means of curbing the spread of the virus, and one approach to achieving this in the workplace is to limit the number of people on the premises at any given time. Hotelling is a practice that allows employees to book shifts during specific times.
Occupancy Limits.With modern technology, it’s feasible to monitor and regulate the number of individuals in each part of the building at any given time once employees have arrived on the premises.
Contactless Building Design.To minimize the risk of infection, touch-free bathroom faucets and doors that open automatically when someone walks by or uses a smartphone app can be incorporated.
Expenses, Schedule, and Comfort are all Factors to be Considered.It’s best to consider curtailing activities that could heighten the likelihood of exposure to the virus, such as business travel, frequent in-person meetings, and communal areas where employees might socialize for long periods of time.
As we progress, the choices we make today could determine the path of our technological or process investments. The subsequent sections will examine some possible solutions.
Health Monitoring Devices
To enforce a COVID-19 vaccination mandate, companies must have a mechanism to confirm that all employees have been vaccinated. Some employers are relying on employees to self-disclose their vaccination status, while others are manually verifying vaccination records via the CDC. Moreover, there are software applications that can access and, in certain cases, authenticate CDC data, along with tracking COVID-19 test results and other health status data self-reported or collected by employers.
It is essential to take into account the thoughts and views of employees, such as those expressed in the article below, before deciding to implement such an application.
There are several techniques for monitoring employee activity, akin to those employed for tracking employee health. A small enterprise may suffice with an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of who is occupying which area and when. For larger establishments, a more sophisticated system may be advantageous. As per an article published in Computerworld, such systems enable companies to create a visual representation of workspaces, meeting rooms, and shared areas. Employees can then use online or mobile applications to check the availability of a workspace beforehand.
Alternative platforms provide sensors capable of monitoring the number of individuals within a room at any specific time and prevent any further entry until a certain number of people have exited.
Creating a Better World to Dwell In
Office managers can readily establish regulations related to hand hygiene, mask wearing, facility sanitation, and other practices that foster a healthy workplace. It has been emphasized that high-touch regions, such as entrances, elevators, water fountains, and welcome desks, are ideal spots to provide hand sanitizer and other indispensable supplies.
By utilizing cutting-edge technological innovations, team members can sustain a touchless working setting. This could encompass a blend of apps and sensors that enable personnel to access doors and operate elevators via their smartphones, in addition to automated lighting, heating, and cooling systems that activate when people are present.