Safety Measures While Getting Back To Work Post-Lockdown
Studio3 Architects
Opinion

Safety Measures While Getting Back To Work Post-Lockdown

By Gaurav Joshi and Sheetal Joshi

Mumbai, June 26, 2020

As the lockdown, imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, is slowly being relaxed and becoming a thing of the past, Mission Begin Again is the newest mantra!

We all are equally curious to resume work at our workplaces and just wanting to get out of our forced home arrest of sorts. Wanting to be back at our work desks, the boardroom meetings for some, the coffee time talk, socializing over Friday nights and what not!

But remember things are never ever going to be same again.

We -- mankind -- cannot afford to ignore the learning from this 'Lockdown Era' as we try resuming routine work at our workplaces. As we move out of the safety our homes, we will need to ensure that the personal hygiene practices we have adopted into our daily lives during the lockdown are observed and inculcated at our workplaces in a more meticulous way.

Post-lockdown, with the world around us opening up, another wave of infection cannot be ruled out, given the density of population especially in metropolitan setups. Here, we, as individuals and organizations, have a larger role to play to contain and prevent the same.

As organizations look forward to reopening post the lockdown, it is imperative for them to implement new strategies and adopt obvious health safety measures for their staff before resuming work.

EMPLOYEES/WORKERS

· Make face masks and a pair of gloves a part of your wardrobe for at least a year. Keep an extra pair handy in your baggage -- just in case of emergency. Make sanitizing your hands at intervals a habit.

· Travel - ensuring strict physical distancing norms (PDNs) in private or public transport both. If your job involves travelling from one place to another, make sure your next in kin is aware of your whereabouts throughout the day. Before travelling, be informed in advance about contamination in the zones you are likely to travel to for work.

· Keep everyone back home posted with your general updates once you report at work – especially if they are located in different cities or parts of the world. It reduces their anxiety levels, especially if they are senior citizens.

· Apart from your laptop/tablet & allied accessories, ensure to carry your own personal stationery and items like pens, pencils, staples, calculators etc. – unless you want to risk using items used by multiple users. This is particularly applicable to banking institutions and workplaces where public interaction is more.

· Do not pass on any information or news overheard in public spaces. Verify for authenticity of such information before sharing. This will ensure containment of fake news and peace of mind for you and your colleagues/co-workers as well

· Avoid food from outside as far as possible. Continue your intake of warm water throughout the day, along with vitamin-rich foods at intervals.

· Lastly -- a very important tip -- irrespective of the affection you may have for your colleagues, co-workers, best friends at your work place, this is not the time to display it through hugs or even a high five! If at all you wish to extend any greetings - a 'Namastey' should be good!

EMPLOYERS/ORGANISATIONS/FACTORIES

· SOP's (Standard Operating Procedures) should include range of measures from temperature screening at entry points to the campus to use of automation at various locations to minimize physical contact at Entry/Exit/Transit points. Here the HR & Admin teams will have a big task at hand to monitor if all the SOP’s are in place and followed as a protocol.

· Security staff at the entrance should be equipped with relevant protective measures in proportion to their exposure to volume of visitors/staff handled by them. Ensure they take weekly breaks and maintain personal hygiene. Ensure they are strict in enforcing rules set by the organization for the visitors and staff.

· Overhauling / Audit of existing HVAC systems to be carried out especially in large offices, laboratories, factories, manufacturing etc. Involve experts in the subject.

· Minimize furniture in common assembly areas. Prohibit assembly of staff in common areas.

· Multiple elevators in office towers to be assigned specific floors to avoid multiple contact with the control panels inside/outside the elevators.

· Replace bio-metric access controls by scanning of personal mobile phones (integrating QR coding) for all employees at the Entry/ Exit/ Transit points of each office unit in large complexes.

· Temperature screening and recording be made mandatory at office entrances.

· Inside the office premises, ensure safe distancing between two workstations as per PDNs. Invest in preventive/protective equipment to ensure safety of the staff at workstations. Engage space planners/ architects/interior designers for large office foot prints. Minimize gatherings at workstations.

· Introduce see through partitions (sneeze guards) between two people seated side by side or face to face at workstations.

· Stagger lunch and teatime breaks and restrict assembly depending upon the seating capacity after ensuring PDN.

· Encourage maximizing use of remote technologies and web meetings/conferences for business. In case of on-site workers, ensure PDN through proper supervising staff dedicated for the purpose.

· Offices should maintain medical assistance numbers in case of any emergencies. Empanel doctors to be available for consultation – on need basis. Industrial premises already have these facilities.

· Invest in additional Facility Management resources, if required. Educate the Facility Management & Housekeeping staff on the Dos & Don’ts of strict hygiene standards to be maintained in and around the premises especially in public areas like lobbies, lifts, staircases, parking lots, toilets,etc.,.

· Lastly, but importantly, educate workers on importance of Life Insurance and Health Insurance schemes for them and their families.

· In this hour of crisis, be humane to one and all. After all, it is the human resources which build organizations. Take them along - there's still a long way to go!

NNN

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