After staying in lockdown for many months in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, states
and businesses are starting to reopen their work spaces.
As an important part of the re-opening process business managers will need to prepare the
workplaces according to the Federal, state, local health guidelines to keep their employees safe
and reduce the possible spread of the coronavirus.
There are three general areas that businesses should account for and more importantly deliver
- Comply – how do we (the company) comply with the various regulations for workplace
- Assure – as companies are asking employees to return to work what kind of reassurance
can companies give employees that they are doing what they can to protect them from
- Protect – outside of personal protective gear what are the mechanisms that a company
can use to provide protection for their employees.
A key Protect solution to consider is a parallel for what has been around for ages. McAfee
and other security network providers set up a “perimeter” of sorts to protect against data
viruses – the same strategy applies to human viruses – establish a mechanism for employees to
self take a COVID-19 questionnaire before they arrive at the workplace. This questionnaire serves like a perimeter – allowing employees to gain entry to the workplace only if they pass the screening mechanism.
This type of solution can also serve to Assure employees that there is a formal mechanism in
place to screen employees before they reach the workplace.
Many states now mandate employee screening questionnaires so this becomes another way to
check the Comply box as well.
The COVID-19 Employee Questionnaire can be a very strategic tool for employers to use to
combat the chances of the virus infecting the workplace. There are also several other valuable
components to an Employee Questionnaire such as daily employee communications about
workspace safety and the Questionnaire solution can serve to help in contact tracing if the need
OSHA & CDC Work Guidelines
Of course the screening questionnaire is not all a company will do to prepare for reopening.
According to the OSHA & CDC there are some general guidelines that every business can adhere
to as employees begin to return to work.
Keep the workspace clean and hygienic. Disinfect every surface, including door knobs,
telephones, office supplies using high-quality antiseptics.
- Promote frequent hand washing among employees by conducting health seminars and
pasting instruction brochures all over the office
- Put up sanitization stations at different locations in the workplace to facilitate regular
- Keep a stock of items such as face masks and gloves, in the office to give free access to
- Make tissues readily available throughout the office to encourage their usage.
Place closed bins for easy and safe disposal of used tissues and PPE.
Keep Congregation to smaller groups
- Keep gatherings in conference rooms or other areas to groups less than ten.
- Alter break room rules to ensure a limited number of employees are present at a time.
- Discourage all kinds of physical contact, such as handshakes, fist bumps, and hugging
- Limit exposure to shared objects. Urge people to use their own supplies
- Make changes in the seating arrangements to maximize the 6-foot distance between
- Restructure meeting rooms to add more space in order to keep sufficient distance
between members during a meeting.
It can be business as normal meaning reaching organization objectives (just like before) but
with a few new rules and policies to keep people safe. One of the big benefits of technology is
not only general COVID protection but perhaps employees in general will reduce sick time