employees working from home

Return to Work: How to Keep Your Employees and Visitors Safe

Return to Work: How to Keep Your Employees and Visitors Safe

People across the globe have been forced into a new normal that virtually no one saw coming and was prepared to handle. While everyone is trying to figure out how to implement social distancing, face masks, and limiting contact in their lives, businesses are struggling with how these issues impact their most valuable resource: their employees.

When a business is considering (or just flat out must implement) their return-to-work strategy, there are a number of questions that come up:

  • When do we have employees and visitors come back?
  • How can we ensure they're safe?
  • When they come back, how do we limit their contact with others in the workplace?
  • If they get sick, what do we do?
  • How do we incorporate them into our new safety systems?

Let’s take a look at the systems and policies you can implement to keep your staff and visitors safe when your business reopens.

How to Know When Employees Should Come Back to Work

Deciding when employees should come back to work involves a balance between the needs of the business and the business’s responsibility to their employees’ safety. All organizations have an ethical responsibility to protect their employees’ health, as well as an economic incentive to do so. After all, employees are the business's greatest assets, and so protecting their health is in the organization’s best interests.

At the same time, many businesses are struggling and face an imperative to bring staff back to work to avoid loss in productivity and perhaps even permanent closure. A partial work-from-home system wherein some employees work remotely part or full time can be a good way to minimize risk while keeping your business running. However, few businesses can afford to have all employees to work from home indefinitely.

Equally, you need to decide when you can welcome visitors back to the office. Whether clients, students, suppliers, or collaborators, many businesses and organizations need to allow visitors on-site in order to function properly. It is, therefore, critical that organizations implement systems and processes that let staff and visitors to be on-site while keeping everyone safe.

How to Keep Your Staff and Visitors Safe When Reopening

Scientists say the novel coronavirus can be transmitted through direct human contact, touching common objects and surfaces, or aerosol transmission. Policies that avoid physical contact between employees are therefore essential: Handshakes, hugs, and all other forms of physical contact should be banned. 

Staff should be encouraged to keep a distance of at least six feet from each other, which can mean spreading out workstations as well as rethinking meeting setups and elevator use. Employees should be encouraged to regularly wash and sanitize their hands, and surfaces and objects should be cleaned frequently.

These measures can help to minimize the risk of virus transmission, but ultimately the best way to avoid the spread of infection is to stop people from coming on-site if they are sick. It is essential that employees stay home if they are displaying any symptoms, or if they have been in contact with anyone who may have COVID-19. This should be a clear policy in your workplace that must be strongly reinforced in order to limit the risk of infection.

Systems That Help to Minimize Risks

The Optimum HQ Employee Health Status Portal reinforces these policies to employees while allowing managers or HR officers to check employees’ health status on a daily basis. Employees use the portal to report their health information as designated by the organization, usually before they come to work in the morning. Here they will indicate whether they are displaying any of the key symptoms of COVID-19 (according to latest data from the CDC), as well as answering other relevant questions relating to travel and exposure to others with the viruses.

This is an easy way to reinforce safety guidelines, remind employees not to come to work, and make sure all workers make an official declaration. The Optimum HQ Portal also allows you to get information on the health status of each visitor before they enter your premises. Visitors can be asked to check in before they come on-site, ensuring that they are not putting your employees or other visitors at risk.

Returning to work and keeping your business running doesn’t have to mean jeopardizing the health and safety of your staff and visitors. By putting the right systems and policies in place, you can safely reopen while protecting the health of your employees and visitors.

Get in touch to learn more about the Optimum HQ Employee Health Status Portal and how it can let you welcome workers and visitors back to your business premises safely and responsibly.