Even while the UK lockdown is gradually eased, it may be some time before things return to normal for businesses and employees. Office staff are continuing to work from home where they can, while others are returning to workplaces redefined by social distancing measures and increased hygiene standards. Is your business equipped for this new era?
Staff and customer safety should be of utmost priority over the coming weeks as economic restrictions are tentatively loosened. Below are some of the key ways in which businesses can prepare.
Limiting Numbers and Queue Management
Many of us will have become familiar with supermarket queues in recent months, and limiting the number of people in a given area can help reduce the risk of transmission in other professional environments too.
For retail stores this is likely to cause queues during busy periods, so devising a safe queue management system is essential. Markers can help guide those who wait, while door staff can monitor the number of people coming in and out.
It’s important to remember that the risk of coronavirus is still a relatively new concept to most people. Clear signage, be it storefront, floor stickers, or posters placed strategically in communal areas, is therefore necessary to remind and reassure people that precautions need to be and indeed are being taken.
Relevant messages include hand washing reminders, notices of changes to service, and instructions for maintaining social distancing.
Another tactic now commonplace in supermarkets is one-way systems. Again, this measure can prove effective in a variety of workplaces – especially those in large communal buildings or with narrow entrances and exits – by helping to avoid overcrowding in areas with high footfall.
Avoiding Shared Equipment and Areas
Hot desking in offices and contact centers was one of the first practices the government advised against in the early days of the pandemic. Where sharing equipment is unavoidable, businesses can lower the risk of the virus being transmitted by asking workers to disinfect their desks, phones and other items at the end of each shift.
The most effective way for businesses to reduce the spread of the virus remains the support of working from home where feasible. For digital businesses, this could mean an entire workforce working remotely. For others, it could be only those in certain departments or roles.
Either way, home working limits the number of people coming into contact with each other on a daily basis. Some technology-led businesses have found their team has in fact been more efficient since heading home in mid-March.
No-one knows just how long these new measures are going to be necessary. But by following them in the short-term, most businesses will be able to keep working while ensuring their employees and customers are safe.