At the Office
These are some simple steps to reduce the chance of an ongoing epidemic from rapidly spreading through your office:
Keep The Whole Place Sanitized
Add extra custodial shifts to clean your facilities (at least double). Clean restrooms, break rooms, drinking fountains, door handles, elevator buttons, etc.
Inform Employees To Do Their Part in Cleaning and Practice Common Sense
It’s everyone’s responsibility to lower the risk of infection. Besides reminding them to frequently wash their hands, provide liquid hand sanitizer in all the common areas and encourage them to use it. Provide cleaning supplies so that employees can clean their workspaces at least once a day. Of course, employees should be advised to:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home when sick.
- Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Create an Environment Where Employees Can Ask to Work From Home
Many companies implement a work from home policy with the goal of improving their employees’ work-life balance, but now it has a health-related function. You should tell employees to watch out for the symptoms related to the current epidemic and not to hesitate to ask their manager if they can work from home.
Give Employees the Tools and Training to Work From Home
It’s not possible for every type of worker to be able to get their job done at home, but those who work primarily with a computer and need to constantly communicate with coworkers, this is easily accomplished. If they require specialized software to get their work done, then it’s always wise to implement SaaS applications, so they can access these programs from nearly any internet-enabled device. Easy-to-use communication and collaboration applications are a must.
There’s a real possibility that your local health authorities will advise businesses to suspend operations to prevent the spread of infection. You should especially prepare for this if you find your business has a close connection to anyone who undergoes testing and quarantine. When most or all of your employees are working from home, here are some tips to help them remain accessible and productive.
Please have your communication platforms (i.e. instant message, email, phone) on. Keep the notification sounds and visuals on. If someone needs to urgently speak with you, they can’t just walk over to your desk, so remain accessible over the web. You should use platforms that give you the capability to hold remote meetings.
Avoid Hopping Straight Out of Bed and Right to Work
Give yourself some time in the morning to wake up, eat breakfast, etc. Make sure when you start your workday, you’re actually awake.
Create a Designated Workspace
Create a space for yourself in your home where you go to work. Whether it’s a home office, the kitchen counter, or on the couch, make it your space for work and gather up everything you’ll need and that it’s free of distractions.
Keep Distractions To A Minimum
Turn off the TV. Shut the door. If you have significant others and children in the home, then you need to set some ground rules beforehand for when you’re on the clock. No bothering you unless it’s important. If you’re easily tempted by certain things that distract you, then move them out of the room you’re working in, or move your workspace.
Working From Home Doesn’t Mean House Work
Working from home allows you to enjoy the comforts of being home, but that doesn’t mean you should be getting chores done while you’re on the clock. You can do little things, but save painting the bedroom or mowing the lawn until after work is over. For anything that urgently needs to get done, take your lunch break and inform your manager you’ll be offline briefly.
Enjoy a Break
It’s understandable to lose focus and have a need to step away. Get up and move around a bit. Stretch, grab a snack, let the dog out, etc. Even go for a short walk. Just keep in mind that if you plan on being away from the computer for an extended period of time, let your manager know. Come back from your breaks, refocused and ready.
Track Your Productivity
Create a record of your day’s productivity. Basically a journal of everything you accomplished that day. This is a good way to track whether or not you’re being productive at home and if you need to do more to reduce distractions.
Working from home is the best way to reduce exposure to the latest pandemic, and sickness in general. As long as you have the right tools to effectively communicate and collaborate just as well at home as in the office.