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Craving some office space after extended WFH

Resuming to the workplace post – COVID-19 lockdown

Drifting through the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath is one of the biggest business challenges of today’s time. World’s various health agencies like WHO, CDC, and ECDC have suggested several preventive measures to deal with COVID 19, including those affecting workplaces, to fight the spread of the disease. We left offices and other facilities relatively empty for a while, and the “while” is close to 75 days and even more in a few places. Its companies decision how and when to start the complex task of returning to the workplace once the government revokes the restrictions. None of us can afford to disregard even tiny details of safety measures now onwards; we must adhere to defined guidelines and perform essential duties accordingly. Besides that, management needs to understand the dilemmas their people will go through when asked to resume office in such a fatal COVID scenario. A wise corporate must draft a course of action to take their workforces from crisis to recovery phase.

Businesses across the world got severely hit during this crisis, and now the gradual resumption of work activities requires many preparations to be agile and innoxious for all. However, regardless of up to what extent normal work activities resume, some restrictions may remain in place to avoid a steep increase in infection rates. Furthermore, it may happen that an increase in infections will require the reintroduction of restrictive measures.

The COVID-19 crisis pressure is on everyone’s kitty; the proportion may vary, but still, a substantial chunk of people needs to get back to the workplace to bring things in order and to keep the business running. Whether to implement new procedures and practices or to resume their usual work and business activities, the decision is complicated—corporates need to offer support for restarting the office. Taking appropriate preventive measures will undoubtedly help to achieve a safe and healthy workplace and will contribute to suppressing the further transmission of COVID-19 while working.

The physical distancing measures achieved a sufficient reduction in COVID-19 transmission so far and still can do better if followed, as per the guidelines. Likewise, there are many preventive measures, and must-do activities to be followed blindly.

Recommence risk assessment and take suitable actions

Recognizing and assessing risks in both physical and psychosocial working environments is the starting point for managing safety and health under COVID-19 standards. The attention should be given to anomalies or situations that may cause problems and help the organization become more rebounding in the long term. Connecting employees and management during the risk assessment can be an incredible approach. The next move should be to make an action plan with suitable measures post getting an updated risk assessment.

Shrinking the COVID-19 exposure at the workplace

Safe work practices need to be implemented to keep a check on the exposure to COVID-19; this requires an ongoing risk assessment and the use of a hierarchy of controls

  • Technical Measures (e.g., encasing, exhaust)

  • Organizational Measures (e.g., only qualified employees can do specified work)

  • Personal Measures (e.g., wearing PPE, Mask, Gloves, etc.)

  • Behavioral Measures (e.g., peer-observation)

One can start with technical measures and possibly supplement them with personal measures. The following steps provide an essential roadmap to help employers navigate the workplace safety challenges before bringing employees on the premises and post-resuming regular office operations.