Employee safety has become an essential for all organizations that are planning to return to office. But how to ensure employee safety? Well, you need a comprehensive set of tools. This blog explores the employee safety you can adopt to plan your return to office strategy.
It's no secret that the pandemic has upended the old ways of the professional sphere. In a few short months, organizations switched from 9-5 work schedules to rebuilding their employee safety management structure from scratch. With the vaccination drive on at full force, executives across organizations are planning employees' return to office.
Many companies have re-imagined on-site workplaces for the first time, creating 'remote' workspaces. A whopping 88% of companies have provided remote working options to their employees since the pandemic, reveals a Gartner survey. Remote working prioritized employee safety and allowed flexible work timings and a reduced office commute for many.
On the other hand, many organizations rolled out hybrid work models to ensure employee safety and wellbeing as part of their return-to-office planning. A hybrid workspace allows employees to perform some tasks within office premises and others from the comfort of their homes. Such a workspace:
Here, employees get to choose the days they work from the office weekly and operate remotely. At the same time, other hybrid models may include employers selecting which are the "in-office" days and which the "remote" ones are. But, what do employees think?
Also Read: Understanding New Work Models
In a recent McKinsey survey, 49% of respondents anticipated significant adverse effects if they returned to an in-office setting. Contracting the virus on-site and transmitting the disease to friends and family members were two crucial concerns deterring them from coming back into office.
Ultimately, employee safety and workforce readiness are primary concerns for companies opening their doors for employees again. These include ensuring the work environment is safe, and all safety protocols and mandates are followed.
Recommended Reading: Employee Safety Guidelines
To alleviate these concerns, organizations must revamp their ways of work. This might involve instating strict mask compliance mandates, physical distancing protocols, temperature checks, and so on. Companies might even have to introduce staggered work timings to reduce workplace congestion and digital tools to streamline processes and ensure employee safety.
Nowadays, numerous digital tools are available in the market catering to different employee safety concerns, such as visitor management systems for frictionless check-ins or contactless access management solutions to facilitate touchless interactions.
Here's a list of four employee safety tools and their uses in the new normal at the workplace.
Company lobbies are usually closed, congested spaces, owing to the high waiting times during employee check-ins. What used to be an inconvenience in a pre-Covid-19 world is a significant employee safety hazard today.
In its guidelines for office buildings during the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cleaning high-touch surfaces frequently for employee safety. Even if your employee entry process is digitized, there may be a high-touch surface like a touchscreen involved. Cleaning these surfaces after every check-in can be tedious, time-consuming and bring employees and cleaners into close contact. Using a contactless access management system puts all these employee safety concerns at bay.
While mandating physical distancing reduces the risk of contracting the virus, a contactless system expedites the entire process. It automates the entry process, reduces human interaction between the front-desk staff, and ultimately boosts employee safety.
Another way you can avoid in-office congestion is through pre-registration. Pre-registration allows scheduling and rescheduling visitors' entry depending on the number of people in the office and their health status.
Using a contactless system or desk booking software, you can send health questionnaires that include questions about a recent diagnosis, fever, or other COVID-19-symptoms. Sending this to employees before they return to office can help identify potential risks, allowing the organization to take appropriate steps. Such a system will help you create and update a digital log for company employees with their details - name, contact details, and location – should you need the information for contact tracing.
Cummins, a Fortune 500 company, specializing in making machinery for diesel fuels, converted their kiosks to uncrewed ones by employing a QR code system for check-ins. They deployed badges upon check-ins and saw a massive difference in maintaining employee safety across their manufacturing facilities as well.
Bonus Read: How to Reopen Offices Safely
Similarly, your company can use QR code scanning to grant employee access at check-in and different meeting room entry points, making the processes entirely contactless (touchscreen and human contact).
Here, a Digi-pass can be issued to workers on successful check-in that can double as an employee attendance receipt. Installing a desk booking system that integrates with an access management solution can help your company go contactless quickly. Thus, touchless interventions help alleviate employee safety concerns, considering roughly 96% of employees come in contact with touchscreens every day.
Since the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommended wearing a mask in public indoor settings such as offices, organizations have been mandating mask-wearing. They are carrying out temperature checks routinely alongside. To protect against Covid-19, an airborne virus, where fever is one of the disease symptoms, employing these measures help boost employee safety in the workplace.
How? That's because it may not be feasible for your front desk employees to monitor mask compliance and record the temperature for every employee on check-in. A convenient way to raise employee safety levels is by streamlining the process with an automated mask detector and installing an IR thermometer at the entrance or kiosk.
When you deploy the right employee scheduling software, your company premises stay safe as only healthy employees adhering to safety norms are allowed access. Thus, the overall employee safety of the organization increases.
Not only do such automated systems streamline the monitoring process, but they enable employees to adhere to regulations better as well. For instance, Whitley's coffee shop saw a 50% decrease in mask non-compliance after employing the mask detectors at their entrance.
Also Read: How to Follow Face Mask Compliance
Covid-19 is a tricky illness because one might experience symptoms long after contracting it. During this time, the virus spreads quickly through employees that are in close contact with each other. Installing a contact tracing solution is one way to stop the spread of the virus and ensure employee safety once it reaches your organization.
When you are notified of an employee that has contracted Covid-19, the first line of action is ensuring they are quarantined. The next step requires you to track everyone they have been in contact with inside the company.
If your company employs digital passes for each entrance, the movements of your employees are time-stamped by location. This data is used by contact tracing employee safety solutions to identify people in the vicinity of the infected employee at a given point in time.
While curbing the spread of the virus through notifying the contacts is one aspect, immediately decontaminating the exposed surfaces is another crucial one. As a facility manager, you can ensure that contact tracing systems synchronize office evacuation protocols with office decontamination. This means, as soon as an employee leaves their workstation or you identify a contaminated visitor, your sanitization team will be notified for instant cleaning, improving employee safety tremendously.
Manually reserving desks is cumbersome due to the long waiting time and frequently moving around to find the right spot. In the times of Covid-19-induced physical distancing, hot desking can be a threat to employee safety.
Bonus Read: What is a Desk Booking Software
That's why companies are turning to desk-booking solutions to automate reservations, prevent excessive movement and interactions, and facilitate employee safety measures within workspaces.
Hot desking or on-the-spot desk reservations were a norm in pre-Covid-19 times. Typically these involved waiting for one person to leave and immediately occupying the space. Since the Covid-19 virus can remain active on surfaces long after an infected person leaves the area, it isn't feasible anymore.
A desk-booking employee safety tool allows workers to book a desk of their choice in advance. Besides, nowadays, the technology-backed solutions are backed with detailed floor plans of office desks available in compliance with distancing norms. Thus, employee safety is maintained as employees can only book desks more than six feet apart, unoccupied, and sanitized.
Desk booking also makes the sanitization of spaces more convenient. How? It can lock the time between two occupancies, highlighting when a desk is going empty in advance, thus helping the staff plan the decontamination well.
Return to office looks radically different for each organization. Employers are continually tapping into technology to support employees' safety concerns and the need for working flexibly. From remote to hybrid to a 100% return to office, workforce models and cultures are in flux and will continue to evolve. However, two questions remain relevant worldwide: what employee safety and wellbeing will look like on-site and how to achieve it?
While some companies have adopted technology-backed employee safety solutions, opportunities remain. With WorkInSync, your organization can deploy an exclusive suite of employee safety tools, including contactless access management, QR code check-in, mask compliance detector, temperature checks kiosks, desk booking platform, and more.
Our platform is a one-stop employee safety solution designed to empower workers and employers to ensure flexibility and safety at work. Book a free demo with WorkInSync today.
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