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Back to office- Embracing the new normal

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The COVID 19 pandemic brought our lives to a stand still. It altered everything, from the way we live to the way we work. Nevertheless, we are getting back to embrace the new normal. Preparing to cope with the new normal and renewed work structures is going to be one of the biggest challenges for the employers and the employees. To keep operations afloat while maximising employee safety, most companies are gearing up to welcome back employees. Let us have a look at some important measures to be followed in order to ensure the well being of your employees.

Follow the policy of retention

Even though all businesses have been hit by the crisis and we are staggering to make ends meet, we must not lose sight of how valuable our workforce is. In order to protect your business and the employees, follow a policy of retention. Focus your priorities on retaining manpower, wage subsidies and social protection. This will aid your business in securing the well being of your employees. Bring in the concept of labour re-channeling which will engage your workforce and keep them dedicated to churn out the best possible results.

Gauge public demand

Another important step towards rebuilding your business and ensuring employee well being is to track the market demand with the changed landscape.The new normal will give rise to new or changed needs. Tracking the market will enable you to revise your business structure accordingly, recover losses and re-skill your workforce so that your services do not go out of demand. Upgrading employees’ skill-set will provide them with assurance of employment and aid the employer in utilising pre-trained workers rather than hiring a new team.

Ensure employee safety while travelling

It is essential to be well prepared and pre-plan all aspects of employee safety before resuming work from office. Employers will need to pay special attention to how their workforce travels to and from work. Employers will have to make proper travel arrangements for employees who use public transport to ensure their safety and refrain them from travelling by crowded public transport. Office cabs need to be arranged for all employees who don’t own personal vehicles and it is extremely important to make sure these office vehicles do not run at full capacity. Special planning and measures need to be taken to check that distancing is practiced even in office cabs.

Workplace safety is paramount

When your workforce returns to office, they will return with the trust that their safety is taken care of by you. To make sure your workplace provides a safe and stress free environment, follow all safety procedures and protocols. Have a mandatory temperature check at all entry points. Regular sanitisation of the premises and availability of sanitiser dispensers is important at all entry points, near lifts, doors and restrooms. It is essentially important to make sure you follow all Government guidelines and only operate with 30% of your workforce present in office premises at a given time. Prepare a rotational schedule to decipher which employees will work from the office and when.

Social distancing at workplace

While operating from office, it is important to take care of social distancing at all times. The seating arrangements need to be planned in such a way that every employee is seated at a safe distance from one another. Guidelines need to be issued by the employer regarding how many people can enter an elevator at once, how many people can use the washroom compound at a given time and an elaborate plan to maintain distance at places like cafeteria and canteens. Creating such guidelines for your employees will aid their protection and will allow employers to safeguard the well being of their workforce.

Expecting your entire workforce to return to the office would not be practical. Instead, maximise your safety measures and consider implementing a phased approach where a specific percentage of your workforce returns to the office over a period of time. Following a phased approach will reduce the pressure levied upon sanitary and security teams who would be working relentlessly to keep up with the demanding sanitisation schedule. Keep the official guidelines and considerations in mind when developing your plan of action for transitioning back into office life. Things may not return to normal for a while, make the process as easy and comfortable as possible for your employees. 

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