Return to the office post-COVID-19: Ensure a healthy workforce and safe office environment



As states steadily ease up on their social-distancing policies and businesses begin to reopen, it has become crucial for companies to implement new safety strategies and take additional safety precautions to create a safe office environment for employees to return to. From a workplace and employment perspective, there are some challenges that employers should start preparing for now. Amongst the issues to consider are sanitizing the office space; reconsidering and adapting policies where necessary; establishing an open line of communication with clients, distributors and partners, and most importantly ensuring appropriate safety practices in your office. In this article, we highlight three scenarios that will transpire at many, if not all, businesses, and how Plan4Continuity can streamline and automate these scenarios and optimize your office environment’s safety.

1. Reducing common touchpoints

2. Daily screening for COVID-19 symptoms

3. Report on potential cases of COVID-19

It is important to adopt a safety-first approach when returning employees to the workplace keeping in mind employee health, social distancing and the various role-players unique to each organization.

1. Reducing common touchpoints 

With all the information available on the novel Coronavirus, we know that the most prevalent method to avoid contracting the virus is not to come into contact with it in the first place. With this in mind, consider the office environment: throughout the day people have to pass through communal areas such as parking areas, lobbies, elevators, security checkpoint and so forth. This means door handles, elevator buttons and pin pads for access to buildings and offices become potential carriers of the virus. The most obvious solution is to sanitize these touchpoints but how can you be sure it is done on schedule, every day?

2. Daily screening for COVID-19 symptoms 

With the correct protocols in place, employers can ensure that employee health is not compromised when returning to the office. Thermal cameras in offices and setting up a controlled point of entry for checking employees and visitors’ temperatures for fever symptoms associated with COVID-19 are both proactive measures but comes with their own challenges. In some countries, these measures are subject to consent, but in all countries, they can be misused and raise major privacy concerns. How will you ensure that personal data is protected and keep track of who has been scanned, who has refused consent (and therefore require alternative protection)?

3. Report on potential cases of COVID-19    

As a business leader, you should also be prepared for a potential COVID-19 infection occurring at your office. Communicate with and train your workforce on how to report potential symptoms of COVID-19 and ensure that you monitor and update your COVID-19 plan as public health information changes. How will you streamline this process of updating and reporting?

While personal hygiene and safety strategies that support a safe office environment play a key role in preventing the virus from spreading, there is an innovative way to automate the entire business process linked to the above three scenarios – Plan4Continuity. Attempting to manage these scenarios manually will have to factor in human error which will make it exceedingly difficult and time-consuming, if not impossible, to audit and locate the origin of any error in order to revise strategies and avoid a repeat of the error.

Plan4Continuity can integrate with existing software and processes to automate, for instance, sanitizing schedules, daily employee and visitor screenings and reporting on potential infections. It documents the key business functions you’ll need to get operational post-COVID-19 and the resources you'll need to do so. It can furthermore assign roles to individuals and send detailed reports during and after the completion of each process. Using Plan4Continuity’s “Return to work after Covid-19” plans to automate, orchestrate, and audit safety processes ensure that your organization is robust enough to cope with scenarios such as those mentioned above which will not only give your workforce, customers and investors peace of mind but may give you the competitive advantage.

You might also be interested to read: 

Return to the office post-COVID-19 series: The checklist

This is not a drill! Plan4Continuity takes control during Corona pandemic

Five Benefits of Automating Your Business Continuity Plan