Preparing to Go Back to Work After Covid-19
States are preparing to open back up, and others already have, which means that before you know it, the world will be getting back to normal, and you’ll be going back to work. After several weeks off, transitioning back into normal life will be challenging; however, there are many things workers and business owners can do to prepare.
How Business Owners Can Prepare for Worker Return
Business owners have a particularly hard task in preparing to open their businesses back up. There are many considerations you need to make before opening the doors and inviting employees back to work. What’s most important is that you follow all state and local guidelines where your business is located.
You’ll also need to:
- Provide Personal Protective Equipment – You’ll want to ensure that you are keeping your employees and clients or customers safe by following all guidelines for personal protective equipment, PPE. Ensure there are adequate masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant and other PPE available. Make sure to keep the delivery windows in mind to ensure you are ordering PPE with enough time to have it on hand before opening your business.
- Stock Up and Be Prepared – The shutdown happened quickly, and you may have halted your shipments and stopped stocking your shelves abruptly. You’ll need to make sure your business is ready to open by ensuring your products are in stock, and your customers and clients can get what they need. The last thing you want is your customers being excited to shop and work with you and having nothing to offer.
- Be Prepared for a Thorough Cleaning – Dust settles rapidly, and if your offices or business has been empty for weeks, you should consider a deep cleaning before letting employees come back to work. There are professional services available for commercial cleaning, but you can also bring staff in provided you have the right PPE for them to wear and commercial grade cleaning products. A carpet cleaning or floor strip and wax may be necessary for some businesses, and these types of services require the use of specialized cleaning equipment.
- Check the Plumbing – Stagnant plumbing systems could be harboring deadly bacteria such as Legionnaires’ disease. According to a NYTimes article, Facilities staff can also flush out old water and bring in a new and fresh supply. Or they can send a high dose of disinfectant through the building and raise temperatures to kill the microbes.
- Have Patience and Compassion – Some of your employees might have been or be ill, have family members that are ill, or be having trouble adjusting to the transition back to work themselves. Give your employees a few days or weeks to get back into the swing of things if they seem to be struggling or have dealt with the illness.
- Be Available – Depending on the type of business you own, clients and customers who have been scarce for weeks might all be clamoring to contact your business now that it’s open. Don’t let yourself be in a position where consumer needs cannot be met, or you are struggling to keep up with the workflow. Ask your employees to be flexible with their schedules and availability, if possible. Some of your employees may have found jobs as essential workers during the pandemic, so you’ll also need to check your staffing levels and adjust as needed.
How Employees Can Prepare to Return to Work
As a worker, you may have been at home for weeks due to stay-at-home orders or job shutdowns. You have found lots of ways to stay busy from yard work and gardening to home renovation projects you never got around to. You might have written a book, picked your guitar back up, or started cooking classes, so when it’s time to get back to reality and go to work, the transition can be just as tricky on individual employees as it is on business owners.
Here are a few things you as an employee can do to prepare to go back to work:
- Communicate – If you haven’t talked to your employer in some time, make sure to check-in and communicate any scheduling needs or conflicts you may have in going back to work. Communication is especially if those needs conflict with the usual schedule you previously had. You should also let your employer know if you are available and willing to be flexible as business needs change, including staying over your shift or picking up extra hours as needed.
- Be Healthy – As states reopen, there will be different mandates in place on wearing personal protective equipment, and employees should take caution to follow all regulations in place. All employees need to continue to wash their hands, use hand sanitizer, and any recommended PPE. If you are feeling ill or showing symptoms of being sick, you should contact your employer right away.
- Finish Up Existing Home Projects, If At All Possible – Don’t let home projects started during quarantine distract you while being back at work. If your employer gives you a return to work date in advance, ensure you finish up the things you started at home so you can have a clear head when you return to work.
- Be Patient and Positive – Do your best to keep a positive outlook and keep in mind that the clients and customers might have different attitudes than they did before the COVID-19 crisis. Be patient as the world returns to normalcy, and your clients and customers go back to their usual routines. Some businesses might be slow at first, while others may be swamped the first few weeks of being back open as consumers can go out and shop again. Clients who have had their businesses stalled may be in the market to get started right away with new services and equipment. No matter how reopening affects business, you must ensure you are prepared and ready for anything.
The world is slowly going to return to the new normal, and getting back to your old life might be complicated; however, following our tips can pull you through the transition. Whether you own a business or are an employee going back to work for the first time in weeks, the most important thing you can do is jump back in with confidence, excitement and safely.
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