5 Steps to a Safe and Healthy Workplace

by Katie Sawyer, · 4 minutes
HOME blog steps to a safe and healthy workplace

As businesses reopen after the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, one thing is for sure: it will not be business as usual.

The question is now how can you reopen your business safely?

How you prepare to return to work is critical to keep you, your staff, and your customers safe. And it doesn’t have to be so hard, here are 5 steps to help you create a safe working environment.

Step 1: Check employee health before staff come into work

In 2019, a sick employee was a minor inconvenience. Maybe you would scramble a bit to find a replacement but the crisis would be over quickly. In 2020, a sick employee can send your entire team into self-isolation and close your business.

Don’t get caught in the chaos of having an ill employee on the clock. Here are a few tips for checking your team’s health before they come into work.

  • Do a pre-work check. Use a streamlined simple, free tool to help prevent sick staff from turning up to work. This check will notify you if an employee has any symptoms so that you can follow up and ask them not to come into work.

  • Double-check your employee’s health status. When employees do come to work, use questions at clock in to double-check their status. You can ask employees if they have taken their temperature and if they have followed good hygiene standards such as hand washing.

  • Come up with a COVID-19 leave type. For your employees who might be sick or self-isolating, create a special leave description for them. This description will help you avoid scheduling sick or at-risk employees.

Step 2: Use one communication tool to share updated hygiene practices

Following hygiene practices is one of the easiest ways of improving safety in the workplace. Whether you operate a restaurant or a clinic, it’s important to make sure that all high touch surfaces such as doorknobs are disinfected often.

Additionally, your baristas and clinicians should wash their hands before and after serving each customer and maintain a safe social distance. Here are three more tips to help you and your team practice better hygiene procedures.

  • Use video. Share explainer videos of new protocols. If you require the front desk staff at your clinic to maintain a safe social distance, sharing a video of how exactly they are supposed to do that can increase compliance.

  • Pin important documents. Share those documents in a central communication platform to keep your staff up-to-date on the latest workplace safety rules.

  • Require confirmation. Use confirmation features, like read receipts, to ensure your staff read or watch your communications.

Step 3: Minimize unnecessary contact

According to the World Health Organization, the COVID-19 virus spreads through touching contaminated surfaces. This makes minimizing unnecessary contact one of the most important safety practices in the workplace. While it’s not possible to do away with all contact, here are a few ways to reduce contact.

  • Use a touchless clock-in app. Manual clock-in systems, such as punching a time clock or scanning fingerprints, can increase the chances of spreading the virus. Instead, upgrade to a touchless clock-in system with facial and voice recognition so your team doesn’t have to touch a clock-in station.

  • Enable mobile clock-in. Allow staff to clock in on their own mobile devices, to reduce contact with clock-in stations.

  • Stagger lunch and breaks. Encourage team members to social distance by scheduling their breaks at different times. This will reduce physical contact and allow for the wiping down of common surfaces before the next employee comes in.

Step 4: Build alternative schedule patterns

Avoid the risk of your entire team being infected at once with smart scheduling. Here are some alternative ways of scheduling your team.

  • Use squads. Break your team into squads who only work with members within that squad. This can help contain any illness outbreak because only members of the squad will be at risk instead of your entire workforce.

  • Automate your scheduling. Build scheduling templates to help keep track of sick and healthy employees automatically for a safe working environment

  • Empower your team. Enable your team to swap shifts with other employees in their squad to avoid last-minute no-shows.

Step 5: Monitor staff well-being

There’s no better way to show your employees that you appreciate all their hard work than checking in on their health and wellbeing. From delivery services to takeout restaurants to retail pickups, employees are on the frontlines. And they’ll be better off if you’re putting their health as your top priority.

  • Use checklists. Set up and manage health and wellbeing checklists for when employees start their shifts.

  • Check-in after shifts. Before clocking off, ensure that staff confirm that they are healthy and feeling well.

  • Communicate face to face. Set up informal conversations with your team to ask about their health — both physically and mentally — and support them.

Get back to work safely

Creating safety practices — and building them into your scheduling — is the best way to create a safe working environment.

Learn more tips for keeping your team safe and healthy with this new ebook, New Ways of Working: How the Hourly Workforce is Changing.

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