Post COVID-19; How You Can Plan for a Safe Reopening

Here’s what small businesses and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommend when you’re planning to reopen your business as safely as possible.

Business owners everywhere–at least those fortunate enough to survive the shutdown–are looking for the safest way to get back to business.

Health and food producing firms & retailers that have remained open during the pandemic are keeping customers safe by taking precautions such as limiting the number of shoppers allowed in the store, designating aisles for one-way traffic and placing partitions between customers and workers. As other businesses prepare to reopen, most will seek ways to ensure the safety of another crucial group: their employees. 

Post COVID-19; How You Can Plan for a Safe Reopening

Monitoring Employees’ Health

Keeping sick workers at home is the first line of defense. Healthy employees are given cleaning supplies for sanitizing their individual workstations, which have been separated to give each employee more space. Workers wear gowns, gloves, and masks throughout the day. Companies can tell their staff that they should stay home if they have any reason to suspect they’ve contracted the virus–and that they’ll still be paid.

“People need to feel like they’re supported,” says business owner. “They need to know it’s OK to stay home, they’re going to get paid, and we’re going to make do without them. The last thing anyone wants is people to feel pressure to come to work sick, because that’s when we’re going to have issues.”

Goodbye Doorknobs, and Other Office Adjustments

Indow, a window manufacturer based in Portland, Oregon, has replaced doorknobs with hooks at its facility so workers can open doors with their forearms. The staff also placed colorful stickers next to often-touched areas such as light switches and buttons, to heighten awareness of those places; workers are each assigned shifts when they’re responsible for cleaning those surfaces.

Bigger companies have had to implement even more safety precautions. Amazon eliminated standup meetings, moved important information that would normally be delivered in person to bulletin boards, staggered break times, and spread out chairs in its break rooms.

In Addition to The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Guidelines

While there is no company rulebook for a pandemic, in addition to NCDC Guideline the here are some recommendations for dealing with Covid-19 in recent weeks. Among them:

  • discourage workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment;
  • provide workers with tissues, no-touch trash cans, hand soap, alcohol-based hand rubs with at least 60 percent alcohol, disinfectants, and disposable towels to clean their work surfaces;
  • install high-efficiency air filters and increase ventilation;
  • have a plan for immediately isolating employees or customers who become sick in your workplace;
  • create additional space for customers; for retailers, this might mean adding drive-thrus;
  • replace face-to-face conversations–internally as well as those with customers, clients, and vendors–with phone calls or other forms of communication as much as possible;
  • establish alternating workdays or extra shifts that reduce the total number of employees in a facility at a given time; and
  • discontinue nonessential travel to locations with ongoing Covid-19 outbreaks.
Authored by Kevin J. Ryan and edited by Teslim Folorunsho
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