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Securing a Safe Post-COVID Workplace

Many organisations have begun to call their employees back to the physical workplace after months of remote work. While it may be exciting for employers to have their workers return to a more traditional work environment, it’s important to be aware of potential security and safety issues that may arise.

During the transition back to a physical workplace, it’s imperative that employers avoid compromising the security of their premises by allowing unauthorised visitors to access restricted areas. For example, if an organisation decides to provide perks—such as free lunch or coffee—to ease employees’ transition back to the office, caterers and other guests should not be allowed to roam free.

Furthermore, employees may also be experiencing anxiety or stress regarding their return to a physical workplace. Employers should show respect and empathy for these concerns and make efforts to alleviate them.

Keeping Workers Safe

There are a number of ways that employers can help make the transition back to the physical workplace more safe and comfortable for their workforce. Consider the following steps:

  • Communicate—It’s important to establish two-way communication and allow employees to weigh in on decisions that will affect them. Organisational leaders and HR professionals should take time to ask staff about their comfort level as they return to the office.
  • Track—Organisations that utilise a hybrid work model should be aware of where employees are on any given day. When certain workers may be coming and going at various times, it’s important to keep track of who is present and at what times.
  • Rearrange—Organisations should consider the comfort level of employees who may have previously worked in close proximity with colleagues. Many workers may still prefer to social distance, so employers should consider how they may be able to change the layout of the workplace or use physical barriers to alleviate these concerns.
  • Use ID cards—Consider utilising an ID card system for employees returning to the physical workplace. It’s possible that newer workers who were hired during COVID-19 will not be recognised on-site. As such, a photo ID may be necessary to ensure that all workers feel comfortable. It’s also worth noting that even employees who have been with an organisation since before the pandemic may now require new photos for updated ID cards.
  • Limit visits—Organisations should consider limiting the number of visits by clients or partners. Unfamiliar visitors may not only present a security risk, but they could also potentially contaminate the workplace. Even if COVID-19 cases decrease, seasonal flu and colds may become an issue during the autumn and winter. As such, limiting physical contact between parties can help keep workers safe.
  • Consider infrastructure—It’s important for a physical workplace to be well-ventilated. This can help reduce the spread of germs, such as those that cause COVID-19. Using natural airflow by opening windows can be helpful. Furthermore, organisations may want to consider acquiring a UV air purifier, which can eliminate small particles and viruses.
  • Clean frequently—Organisations should have already prioritised cleanliness and hygiene prior to and during the coronavirus pandemic, but doing so in a post-COVID world is even more important. Increase the frequency of cleaning procedures for common areas and frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles and handrails. Consider also posting signs to remind employees to wash their hands frequently and maintain other good hygiene practices.

Moving Forward

While it may be exciting for employers to be able to bring their workforce back to a greater sense of normalcy, it’s imperative to consider necessary changes to the physical workplace to ensure that employees feel safe and that the premises are secure.

For more information on the process of returning to the workplace, contact us today.

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