After nearly a year of lockdowns, quarantines, and social distancing, people are slowly starting to transition back to their workplaces. Although, the danger of the COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet, returning to physical workplaces is possible. However, leaders need to remember that they might not operate like they used to.
To ensure employee safety, comfort, and productivity, companies must adjust to the new normal. Let’s dive into what the new normal looks like and how companies will ensure business continuity in the post-COVID world.
Adopt a Hybrid Workforce Model
Adopting techniques and cultures like a Hybrid Workforce can be very useful for organizations. To keep employees safe and healthy, many companies are adopting Hybrid Workforces which combines remote work with office work. It gives employees the freedom to work wherever, and sometimes even whenever, they want. A Hybrid Workforce model can provide an optimal work-life balance to employees and enhance productivity.
Limit Physical Interactions with Social Distancing
In physical workplaces, the risk of COVID transmission is greater. It's important that companies allowing in-office work make sure employees who either have COVID or similar symptoms stay home and work virtually. However, it is vital for organizations to limit interactions between employees and impose social distancing standards for everyone's safety.
The recruitment and hiring process is one significant area being affected by limited interactions. To overcome these challenges, organizations can:
- Schedule meetings virtually
- Discuss work over messages and calls
- Provide online assessments to candidates
- Conduct phone or video interviews
- Adjust office space to allow 6-feet between individuals
- Install transparent barriers between close work stations
- Automate workflows for less human efforts
- Schedule employees in shifts
Create Contactless Office Spaces
Employees aren't the only ones entering your office space. Other staff members that you have less control over, such as custodians, maintenance people and guests have access to common areas like elevators, bathrooms, water coolers, telephones, and more. Organizations should maintain contactless spaces in the new normal. In order to do that, companies can:
- Use facial recognition technology to identify who and how many people are in a location at once
- Install motion sensors on commonly touched areas like door handles, elevator buttons, etc.
- Use AI and IoT applications to enable voice recognition to control lighting and ventilation
- Regularly disinfect common spaces and objects
Track Employee Health
Monitoring employee health is essential when they return to work. An employee who has COVID or has similar symptoms could infect other employees. It is vital to track employee health regularly. Organizations can:
- Implement health screening stations to scan for symptoms
- Use a thermal scanner to track employees temperature
- Install tracing applications on mobiles phones to identify employee exposure
- Use ServiceNow applications for employees to report their health status
Companies are steadily accepting the new normal in workplaces but employers need to take further steps and implement technologies to ensure employee safety and productivity. They need to adjust the work structure to sustain during these uncertain times.