According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employer-Related Workplace Injuries and Illnesses News Release, as of November 2020, 2.8 of every 100 workers were injured at their workplace. And according to a Gartner survey of 238 executive leaders, 66% of organizations are delaying office re-openings due to COVID variants.
The inundation of delay announcements is a reminder that 18 months into the coronavirus pandemic, the future of the workplace is as uncertain as ever. Employers are spending a lot of money to figure out what to do next, because the longer the pandemic goes on, the criteria for creating a safe space and culture for workers gets more complicated.
According to Forrester, the priority when re-opening office buildings will be to create a sense of physical and psychological safety in the workplace. Despite the vaccine, the firm found that two-thirds of US workers would like to have health precautions in place even after they go back to the office.
Despite the encouraging rollout of the COVID vaccine, it’s likely to be some time before organizations return to a true sense of normality. What’s more, last year’s ‘normality’ saw the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reporting 111 work-related fatalities unrelated to COVID, plus 693,000 non-fatal injuries. With numbers like this, workplace safety remains a high priority for organizations in 2021 and beyond, so here’s what you can do.
Provide Visual Safety Aids & Messages
Communication solves problems before they have the chance to happen. By posting clear information around the workplace, your employees, customers, and clients will feel a sense of safety and peace of mind. This can have an immediate impact on workplace productivity.
From the beginning of March 2020, we’ve all learned quite a bit about cleanliness and sanitizing. Having a clean space is a must. With regular and rigorous cleaning, your staff will feel safer returning to the office.
Keeping your staff healthy mentally requires keeping them healthy physically. Having sit-stand desks available and creating touchdown spaces will encourage movement around the office. Being seated for too long can create more problems both physically and mentally.
Training on Safety Procedures
Everyone feels better when they’ve been adequately trained on safety procedures. Reassure your staff with regularly held training sessions on things like fire safety, COVID protocols, and more.
Not only will open, clean spaces keep your staff healthy physically, but it will also keep them healthy mentally. Clear out things around the office that aren’t necessary to free up space and keep walkways clear. An open, clean and organized space leads to a clean and organized mind.
Always get employees involved with decision-making and create a safety committee within your staff. These dedicated employees can be the point person for others to come to with issues. You can also have employee surveys created for anonymity amongst staff members who do not feel comfortable being in the spotlight.
Show Management Commitment
Demonstrate to your staff your commitment to their safety and well-being with regularly scheduled safety “check-ins”. Allow the staff to voice their concerns about potential health and safety issues around the office.
Small rewards for the person or persons who have worked hard to create and keep a safe environment may help to incentivize more community involvement. When we all work together, we work well.