Is it too early to go back? Or we are simply ruining the economy and our future by staying at home. There is no definite answer, especially after when WHO warned that “Coronavirus may never go away.” It clearly indicates that all hopes for vaccines have shattered and now since there is no immediate remedy, we have to learn to live with it. Although, we have still attached our hopes to pharma companies, what if it actually never goes away.
Many IT firms are seeking support in remote work culture. OutSystems, Salesforce, ServiceNow, AutoDesk, and many others have openings for remote-based software technical professional jobs. Job sites such as Working Nomads has listed 10,127 open remote-based developer jobs, along with thousands of jobs in tech marketing, management, and tech sales.
At least the IT industry has something to lean on. But what about the essential services, retail, restaurants, e-commerce, construction, real estate, coliving, and many others. There is little to no scope of “work from home” for them and if the business does not return as usual in coming days, either most of the employers and the employees will either perish or have to come up with a new way of service delivery, which neither should a ridiculously brave attempt to survive, compromising on workers’ health and safety nor is the means of living on meagre. But with the fear of coronavirus lingering forever, how would the employees in these sectors perform their jobs with confidence.
Although, businesses and economies throughout the globe have a history of surviving the odds, let us imagine a business world that operates with the same fear and yet thrives. Here are a few viable options that businesses could try to fuel the economic engine, with and without making some uncomfortable decisions.
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Keeping a Workplace Safe
With fear of deadly virus looming over, organizations have the pressure to protect the employees, take appropriate workplace safety measures, and keep the customers engaged from distance. The workers are not mentally ready yet to get back to work; not because they don’t want to leave their homes, but because they are not sure who they may encounter while working, who could make them sick. A stressed worker cannot give their 100% and that is not a good thing for the business with respect to productivity and cost of operating.
The IT industry has extended a helping hand by building workplace safety tools that enable organizations to maintain physical distancing among workers, track their field locations in order to see if they have visited any Covid-19 hotspot, and design staggered scheduling as a part of workplace management.
Quick Mechanism to Raise the Red Flag
Organizations resuming operations post lockdown need to deploy a quick mechanism enabling transfer of information about sick employees.
The mounting coronavirus cases have taken unusual resonance, fueling debate over how to differentiate between flu symptoms and the coronavirus infection so that proper reporting can be done in time. In these uncertain times, organizations can build a standard reporting system to defy biased opinions and judgements, and believe in experts, data, and statistics.
Under this mechanism, regular employee check-in and check-out details could be recorded, along with time-stamped temperature and self-assessment and declaration forms are required to be submitted on a daily basis, so that anyone with the disease could be identified and isolated as quickly as possible.
Workspace Management Planning and Staggered Scheduling
At this point of time, organizations would not like to take chances with recommended safeguards. Besides, lockdown extensions might take a toll on the general well-being of the people and you can see the consequences in the form of subtle or aggressive protests. With right planning and the support of technology, organizations could easily come out of the lockdown phase and resume working. Here are few tips and tricks for workspace management including:
- Enable work from home for the professional who could possibly manage their jobs from homes.
- Use tools to track social distancing between every employee, and also create an alert system to budge them in case of prolonged proximity.
- If possible provide transportation services to employees from office to home and keep the vehicles sanitized and get the driver tested after every pick-up.
- Apply a staggered scheduling system according to the floor plan so that lifts or main gates do not get too crowded at any point in time.
Proper workplace management is an elaborate process, which requires meticulous planning and accurate implementation. If you succeed at this, you will not only be able to provide a safe working environment to your employees, but also improve productivity, which is a most essential business requirement in these difficult times.
Using Tools to Ensure Contactless Communication
Surprisingly, many IT companies have come up with tools to ensure contactless communication in a very short period of time. Now business leaders could easily find a range of digital tools that help them maintain contactless communication throughout the business premises. Using such tools, employers can promote a work culture wherein people can perform day to day operations while maintaining physical distancing but without affecting flawless communication.
Conduct Inspection and Compliance Reports
Today, companies must try to strike a balance between re-opening and safe working environments. Failing to do so can cause catastrophic consequences for the company as workers can report dangerous conditions to the authorities, leading to reputation damage to the business.
In order to maintain the balance, businesses must put inspection software systems to ensure that corrective actions are being taken and delay in actions are properly dealt with. Use of digital workplace management software can help companies take necessary measures to ensure physical distancing, tracking, and monitoring while also collecting the relevant data to generate inspection and compliance reports for reference purposes.
In these uncertain times, the struggle to return to work is inevitable. Reopening the business at this time even for essential businesses is challenging, however, staying at home forever is no option. The best approach today is to resume operations, maybe not on the same scale as before but gradually move towards reopening. Employers can take the help of digital tools to continue operations with caution while maintaining physical distancing and other compliances.
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