Lockdowns are being eased and lifted across the country and everyday we get questions about what steps to take to reopen safely. We want to share a few reminders that may help as you develop your plan for reopening. Of course each case is different, local guidelines are different and individual companies have unique needs. Safety for employees and customers must be the guide for making decisions. In our conversations with clients, here are some of the things they are doing to prepare to reopen safely.
Temperature Checks One company assigned a worker to do daily temperature checks of all employees. This is by no means foolproof but it does give a level of confidence to fellow employees. Provide a supply of touch free thermometers and encourage employees to use them throughout the day.
Work from Home Not all employees may be needed on the front lines when you first reopen. Allow employees to continue to work from home if it does not interfere with reopening the business.
Social Distance Employees Arrange for all workers to remain at least 6 feet apart while they are working. In many cases it requires moving furniture and workstations. It’s important to set up barriers so that employees do not come close to each other inadvertently. This may limit the number of people who can work safely at the same time.
Stagger work schedules. Instead of having everyone who has been working from home return at the same time, stagger work days. Split your group into two teams and have them come into the workplace every other day. This will expose your workers to fewer people over all if they work with a smaller team. They can still continue working from home half the time.
Keep Common Areas Sanitized Assign someone to regularly wipe down common areas such as counters, tabletops, door knobs, shared equipment such as copiers or cash registers.
Avoid Large Meetings If you must meet as a group, include as few people as necessary. Hold the meeting in an outdoor location or in a large room and practice social distancing. Video conference meetings are even safer.
Stagger Break Schedules Do not permit people to congregate on breaks and at lunch. Stagger break schedules and break areas so that people can stay 6 feet apart at all times.
Provide Sanitizing Supplies Place sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer and sanitizing sprays at every workstation and require workers to use them liberally. The same employee who performed temperature checks can also be responsible to make sure other employees had plenty of supplies and used them frequently.
Provide Masks Provide masks to all employees and require that they be worn inside all day. Make sure to have plenty of fresh masks on hand and make it easy for your team to get them before entering. For example the person who takes temperatures can issue a fresh mask at the door.
Institute a strict stay home when sick policy Make sure that employees know that they should stay home if they experience any symptoms.
Testing Work with your healthcare provider in advance to make testing available to employees who have symptoms. Instruct your employees as to how they can get tested. Testing can still be complicated right now, but once test kits are readily available, try to be prepared so that you can have all employees tested as appropriate to ensure a safe workplace.
Communicate Stay informed about federal, state and municipal regulations and guidelines and keep your employees informed. Help them to understand the steps they can take as individuals to keep themselves and their colleagues safe.