As the 4th of May 2020 is nearing to mark the end of the second lockdown at 23h59, I am sure employees are wondering How the lockdown restrictions will be lifted. Employees are aware of lockdowns in other countries and will have questions about the nature and impact of our lockdown. Would my company resume work activity? Will I be expected to return to work? How different will my workplace be? What about Social Distancing and hand hygiene?
So much is unknown and uncertainty breads fear, especially the economic, social and employment changes that are occurring during this period. Some employees might be excited to go back to work but others might be anxious of contracting the virus and dread returning to work.
All eyes are on HR and I encourage you to Take the Lead and prepare your employees to return to work safely. I am sure you might have noticed that our BCP’s, are not ready for the level of uncertainty and complexity presented by this pandemic and needs constant review. To demonstrate that at the start of the first lockdown the Confirmed Coronavirus cases globally were about 450 000, a figure which today is over 3.2 million confirmed cases globally.
What do you need to do TODAY, to ensure that your business is ready to reopen safely and in compliance with the Coronavirus guidelines and regulations.
Below are some questions I have been asked and some I have been asking:
- Have you developed/reviewed policies that will govern what is now called the ‘New Normal’?
- What immediate modifications might be required at your workplace?
- How would you identify and mitigate risks, i.e. transmission risk?
- What Social Distancing measures have you considered?
- What temperature check; mask wearing and hand hygiene measures are required?
- Which employees will return to work and what criteria is considered?
- What criteria is considered to allow employees to work from home?
- How do you strengthen employee wellness and health & safety practices?
- How will you manage a situation of an employee testing positive for Coronavirus?
- What measures are considered around shared and common areas?
- What is the magnitude of change your business will face with the least disruption?
What questions are you asking?
As you are pondering the above questions, note that the world of work has changed and you will require rules and policies to implement and enforce the ‘New Normal’. Take the Lead, develop and communicate the ‘Return to Work’ strategy. Engage your Crisis Management Teams and Committees to adopt a 'fit for purpose' Strategy. The world of work as we know it has changed and we need to change and continue to change.