We have been in a defensive posture for some time now, as stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures seem to have been somewhat effective in lessening the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic. While the situation is far from over, there are positive indications that moving forward with caution is now possible. The analogy does not hold completely, of course – even defensive measures can be considered offensive measures – and are aggressive and necessary.
As society begins to open back up with limiting measures in place, it is important to maintain our defense against the spread of the disease by continuing to practice common sense behaviors. Some of the behaviors we have learned all too well during this pandemic make sense and should be practiced anyway. Going forward, at least for some time, employees will be strongly encouraged to stay at home when sick instead of remaining silent and trying to work through. Practicing personal and respiratory hygiene will be a priority.
When associates who have been working remotely or have been furloughed begin to come back into the workplace, our priority should be to maintain the precautions established for those who continued to commute to work. You should already have a clearly defined campus policy which applies to all visitors and associates. If you have not adopted and implemented a pandemic policy, there are many resources available from CDC, WHO, and OSHA which we refer to you. These sites are updated frequently and will keep you informed of important factors that can impact your plans. You should also be aware of local and state direction.
If you have a policy in place, how are you communicating it to associates who will be returning to the office or jobsite? We have seen diversity among our clients regarding up to date communication. Larger organizations typically have extensive methods of communication, while smaller companies struggle, as tools and methods are limited. Many of those responsible for communication are working remotely, posing additional challenges.
In addition to email, text, websites, posted material onsite, and video conferencing – consider the use of short videos to communicate your campus pandemic policy and other important content. Links to hosted video can be shared via all mediums and can be more effective than static documents. Keeping each one brief – two to three minutes or less – will also maximize effectiveness.
As people begin to get out more, as retail businesses begin to open again, and as employees begin going back to work – keep personal safety a top priority. Let’s go on offense and we will get through this.