Arguably, the most perplexing issue with the COVID-19 pandemic for employers is how there was no handbook written on how to handle the ever-changing recommendations and health safety protocols. No matter the company size, each business has had to pivot and reimagine how to function within federal and local guidelines, keeping their businesses in legal operation, protecting their employees, and serving customers.
With such significant concerns, managers have had to put people at the center of any plan and lead with empathy and respect.
As the country looks to a full year of dealing with the pandemic, businesses must adjust their operations to get back to working order (if they haven’t already). This is best done in two phases: physical return to work and work reimagined.
Phase One: Physical Return to Work
If your company has not been fully operational during the pandemic, it’s not as simple as just starting things up again like before. Remote work is often not a viable option for those in manufacturing, so you must do more to consider the health of all your workers, no matter their positions. Here are some steps to make the physical return to work possible.
4 Steps to Return to Work
Understand and Assess Your Business
Consider who should come back and when. During this step of the process, you should also determine if some functions can be automated and which work can be done remotely.
Create a Command Center
Assemble a team to help prepare for and recover from unexpected issues or events in the future. This group will also create a reopening plan for health, hygiene, and operational concerns and progressions.
Implement Technology to Improve Safety
One way you can limit exposure to germs is to invest in labor-management systems that allow workers to check-in and log hours through mobile applications. While everyone is concerned with personal protective equipment (PPE) like face masks and keeping a 6-foot distance, implementing the right technology can make a great impact on the health, safety, and productivity of your workers.
Prepare the Physical Space
After you’ve created your protocols for workplace operations, it’s time to communicate them clearly with your workforce. Everything from meeting protocols to cleaning and disinfection requirements must be considered. When your employees are clear about expectations, they will be more confident in succeeding at their jobs.
Phase Two: Work Reimagined
Every sector of business is coming out of the pandemic in a different place. For some, profitability is down, while revenue is up. For others, demand for their product has nearly disappeared. No matter what, if your business is out of its pre-pandemic normalcy, it’s time to rethink and reimagine your business.
This can be scary and unsettling, but ultimately, very rewarding and quite necessary.
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