Improving Workplace Social Distancing Safety
Efforts to flatten the coronavirus curve are proving successful as states reopen their economies. But the post-surge workplace will require physical and technology modifications to implement CDC safety guidelines such as social distancing. Industry leaders are turning to managed IT firms to develop proactive strategies to ensure workplace safety and minimize the potential for an outbreak.
Why Workplace Social Distancing Remains Essential
Although everyday Americans appear to be increasingly relaxed about the spread of the contagion, hard lessons were learned during the peak. Essential businesses such as meat processing plants reportedly struggled to control the spread.
According to The Guardian media outlet, upwards of “12 of the 25 hotspots” in counties ranked with the highest positive test results per capita originated in meat processing plants. Experts point to the fact that workers are often required to work side by side, raising the risk of cross-infection. This issue was abundantly clear when mid-West states with otherwise low rates saw spikes traced to plants sustaining the country’s food supplies. But the underlying reasoning that close-quarters workplaces need to implement safe, social distancing holds true for every industry.
Reimagining Workplace Safety in the Age of COVID-19
It’s important for those who feel the threat has waned, and vaccines are in the pipeline to understand that risks still exist. The virus spread could increase in the short-term, and many worry about a fall resurgence.
“Discrete measures are needed to reduce interactions between people and keep physical distance between them onsite,” Gartner analyst Deborah Alvord reportedly said. “Many service organizations can’t implement remote work for all of their employees due to the lack of available infrastructure, the physical nature of some service and support roles, or because of union contracts.”
As everyday people return to offices, manufacturing plants, and service-sector occupations, safety remains paramount. That’s why decision-makers are reimagining physical workplaces using strategies that include the following.
- Staggered shifts to reduce the number of onsite employees per shift
- Install partitions between cubicles to minimize airborne transmission from coughing and sneezing
- Spacing desks and chairs 6 feet or further apart to meet CDC recommendations
- Implement a policy that bans outside visitors into a workplace
- Promote 6-foot spacing rules for employee walking traffic
- Increase cleaning and sanitizing efforts of hard surfaces, keyboards, and devices
While all of these efforts are steps toward minimizing workplace risks, IT experts may be delivering the most proactive tools to restore safe productivity.
How Managed IT Innovation Improves Worker Safety
As Alvord points out, not every organization can conduct business from home. While a recent Gartner survey indicates upwards of 74 percent of CFOs plan to maintain remote workforces, other IT innovations also prove useful. These include the following.
- Virtual Task Collaboration: As organizations shifted to remote workforces, many discovered that platforms such as Microsoft Teams allowed employees and administrators to complete tasks remotely. Leveraging this and other cutting-edge innovations allow in-house team members to stay productive without physical interaction.
- Virtual Meetings: Regardless of whether a company needs bodies onsite to complete tasks, videoconferencing apps can effectively eliminate the need to gather for group meetings. Apps such as Face Time, and many others, are easily accessible from most cell phones and devices.
“Social distancing might impact an organization’s culture and its employees’ productivity and engagement. But taking preemptive steps to address these implications by developing an effective employee communication plan and enabling managers to handle employee needs and responses will help minimize the impact,” Gartner researcher Gamika Takkar reportedly said.
Wide-reaching IT strategies are under consideration to meet the safety needs of unique organizations. Industry leaders who wisely craft a business safety plan in conjunction with a third-party managed IT expert are discovering innovative ways to protect themselves and valued team members.