With vaccination in full swing, most organizations are now considering reopening offices at least partially. For employees, challenges remain the same- fear of having to travel in public transport where social distancing is impossible, closed workspaces/cubicles, shared spaces like meeting rooms, cafeteria, and washroom; colleagues who don’t follow covid appropriate behavior or haven’t taken the vaccine; the list is endless.
The reopening is fraught with risks that organizations must factor into planning, to ensure the highest levels of safety and avoid potential legal liability in terms of compliance.
We spoke to the partner organizations who have reopened and here’s what they are doing!
1. Staggered working hours/ shifts- It is best to schedule different days for different groups so that employees will be at safe distance. Plan to have 40-50% of staff to work from office in rotational shifts.
2. Employee commute- Employees taking public transport or sharing rides with absolute strangers are dangerously at risk. It is important for organizations to not only plan employee commute efficiently but also have contact tracing in place.
3. Adherence to Covid-19 protocols- Employees must adhere to safety protocols even when they have taken the first dose or are fully vaccinated. Office space should be sanitized frequently, especially the shared spaces like meeting rooms, cafeteria etc.
4. Secure EHS & other compliances- Organizations must secure EHS compliance in lines with MHA directives to avoid getting into legal mess.
5. Routine screenings & vaccine records- Focus on preventive healthcare and monitor employee health with routine screenings. Keep a record of vaccinated employees so that reopening and seating arrangements can be planned accordingly.
Post the second wave, reopening could mean redesigning everything- from employee commute to work schedules as well as floor plans. It is imperative for organizations to plan the reopening in a holistic way to devise safe and sustainable long term workplace strategies.