It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic is exercising a negative global impact contrary to most disasters known to human history. Many organizations were compelled to shut down and staff members had to ship themselves with work from home and only workers associated with emergency services were only allowed on-site. It has been over 5 months that we are under the negative impact of this pandemic and now many businesses are gradually starting their work. This has brought about a new range of challenges for facility managers who are in charge of keeping the establishment safe to the greatest possible extent while employees are slowly making their much-awaited return.
Here are a few tips gathered from two business firms who have to navigate through this deadly pandemic with flying colors and have now reopened in its full-fledged form. These two organizations have taken stringent measures of planning and recovering from the crisis. It can be applied to any facility or organization who are now preparing to start their business in this crucial unlock phase.
- Devising a recovery team: The pandemic recovery team for your business should be inclusive of relevant employees and departments who are experts in the field. In the top position of this team, the hierarchy should be a place for two leaders of which one should deal with public health while the other concentrates on organization and informed decision making. Under these two heads, there should be several team members, each dealing with administrative computing, communications, facilities recovery, finance, housing, human resources, and international recovery.
- Conducting regular meet-ups: The recovery team must sit together at least once in a week so that there remains a coherence in the work structure. The recovery team leaders can meet their team members as and when required according to what the situation demands. It is better to conduct online meetings initially.
- Following central and state regulation: The CDC and WHO have properly updated webpages where the regularly post updates on what should be done and how. Besides, there are some norms issued by the central and state government bodies with respect to timelines, prerequisites, and phases of reopening business organizations and offices.
- Deciding on important dates: Every business firm must have a well-planned timeline before they reopen. This could include starting date and work backward for detecting the functions and purpose of each department other than their regular duties for ensuring a safe and efficient reopening structure.
- Determining requirements for testing and health assessment: Employees must undergo a baseline Corona testing before they return to their regular schedule of work. There should also be constant surveillance by testing a sample of the population from time to time. Employees must have access to different applications for health assessment, temperature checking systems, and thermal solutions. Facility managers should revise access control for all facilities in order to stop unwanted surface contact.
- Executing protective measures as per office space: Facility managers must be equipped with identifying various risks of infections that are transmitted on all types of spaces for protecting the employees as well as guests and visitors. For all areas other than the residence rooms and perimeter, there should be regular disinfection and sanitizing.
- Return planning for each department: Each department must have a well laid-out plan that will help them to function as the return to work. These may include wearing masks, maintaining social distancing norms, regular sanitization, and staggering the attendance of employees to 50 percent.
- Developing policies and regulatory procedures: Some of the most significant policies required for reopening business firms include cleaning procedures, establishment access protocols, quarantine planning, establishing links with the local clinic, protocols for returning to work if any employee is found COVID-19 positive and sick policy.
- Designing and deploying signage: There are feasible samples given at websites of various regulatory bodies and companies should go through them to determine the most suitable design plan before deploying them.
- Developing and implementing training: There should be training programs for all employees who are returning to work. It could include measures to stay safe at work, cleaning the workstation, expected regulations for facility management, and seeking emotional assistance for employees suffering from anxiety and stress due to huge work pressure.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has given way to vicious cycle to vulnerabilities across different industries in the private sector. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre and other regulatory bodies have offered recovery planning for supporting affected small and medium-sized businesses.
Plus, global as well as local supply chains have been hampered to a great extent, disrupting many suppliers to conduct their functions effectively even in places where demand has remained strong. This is where COVID-19 pandemic has impacted and therefore, business organizations must utilize each and every resource so that companies can remain operational to a considerable extent.