Back to Blog
With the announcement of easing various restrictions at a federal and state level over the next few weeks, I thought this would be a good time to discuss what the operational business environment is going to look like for a lot of organisations, both small and large within Australia, and further afield come the end of the isolation period.
I also thought this would be a great way of sharing on to others what you can do, both at home and in the workplace to try and help keep people safe.
I suppose the first question to ask and try to answer for a lot of business owners is around "what can I do to make my work environment safe for staff and customers and still ensure its functional?"
The good news is you can do quite a lot, but the critical focus needs to be on ensuring basic hygiene and social distancing is followed to help stop the spread and reduce the risk of contaminating others.
What's been said by the Experts?
The World Health Organisation has released an abundance of advice on how to help business owners be able to reduce risks. As the old saying goes, prevention is always better than the cure. Below is a list of some of their recommendations and also a link to their guides.
From an employee perspective, the second question is; "what will I be able to do and not do at my workplace?"
That question really depends on the workplace. For example, based on what I've been hearing from managers & leaders in larger corporate office based environments, the general consensus is that most of the facilities they do have, such as showers, gyms and prayer rooms, will be kept off limits to employees for the time being. There is the view to keeping employee's working from home until around the end of June 2020 and then start a trickle based return to work.
It's also being touted that employee's will be divided between two or three groups initially. The idea is if you're in Group 1, you will work in the office on a given week, and then rotate out for 2 weeks while Group 2 and Group 3 rotate through. This means hot-desking will probably come back into vogue in order to assist with the safe social distancing of employee's too.
Lunchrooms and shared communal kitchens look set to suffer a significant upheaval too. The view seems to lean towards removal of cutlery, plates and cups and glasses. Also, businesses have plans in place to remove cupboard doors and remove kettles, Coffee and other vending machine facilities. No more than two people to a lunch table (where possible it'll be just one) and rubbish bins being left with no lids on and microwaves and refrigerators being removed too.
Bathrooms are also set to be affected (for those of you, who use them as fortress of solitude, sad news my friends). I've been advised by a few businesses that they will be removing entrance doors and having cleaners rotate through them every couple of hours, with a full deep cleanse being performed upwards of 3 times a day (if you have an office of 400+ people, you can start to see the logistical nightmare this presents).
While this all may seem drastic, the ideas driving it makes total sense and they're just as applicable to smaller organisations too (overhead costs to even a small business with a couple of employee's will unfortunately head higher, as a result). Looking at it from a strategy based , it's all about reducing physical touch-points for employees and getting everyone to make a conscious effort to spend, as little time in the office as possible while still being able to function and kick goals.
While smaller organisations don't have the resources to make this happen the same way a large corporate can, it's definitely worth seeing what you can apply from the above suggestions to make it easier for staff to transition back to your workplace and support them in trying to make the best of a bad situation.
I would certainly love to hear from business owners, managers and employees about what their own experiences are of this process, and what they've learned so far.
So please feel feel free to fire away in the comments section and as long as I haven't taken a siesta, I'll jump in too.