In the words of Tears for Fears, ‘It’s a very, very mad world’!
It certainly is in the 21st Century. Over the last two decades, health and wellbeing in the workplace entered boardroom conversations alongside sustainability and corporate engagement and driving transformation.
With employees on the brink of returning back to the workplace, health and wellbeing have leapfrogged to the top of the agenda.
There is little doubt the workplace will look a lot different when Britain gets into the swing of the “new normal”. The government is already encouraging business owners to create “COVID-Secure” workplaces that help to prevent a flare-up of coronavirus.
Precautions will include health and safety checks for businesses with more than five people, a consistent supply of hand sanitiser, investing in personal protection equipment and adhering to the 2m social distancing rule wherever possible.
Embrace Flexible Working
Flexible working is not a new idea but it is one that never really took hold among Britain’s workforce. According to the Office of National Statistics, only 10% of UK companies have a flexible working solution in place and only 5% of the UK’s 36m-strong labour market works outside the office.
Lockdown has given employers and employees the opportunity to evaluate the potential to adopt flexible working. With business owners or employees unlikely to all flood back to the office, telecommuting could finally be embraced by a larger percentage of the nation.
Invest in Personal Protect Equipment
One of the government’s initiatives for companies to create a “COVID-secure” workplace is to invest in personal protective equipment. Hygiene precautions include foot-operated hand sanitisers, 3-way sneeze screens, safe distancing floor stickers and medical-grade face masks.
Health and Wellbeing Office Design
Health and wellbeing were gaining traction in office space even before the global pandemic forced a standstill. Many of the initiatives office design consultants were floating are required now more than ever.
Private cubicles that are designed to reduce noise pollution in offices will also reduce the risk of contamination. The World Green Building Council is urging companies to improve air quality, thermal comfort, natural daylight and install biophilic features.
Install Motion Sensors
Limiting the number of surfaces that your employees need to touch with their hands will help prevent the exchange of potentially harmful bacteria. Installing motion sensors on doors, lifts and taps provides an ideal solution.
Motion sensors are inexpensive and can be easily fitted to ceilings, walls and doors. You can also link them with your lighting and help to cut down on energy use – which tackles the climate crisis and the coronavirus crisis at the same time.
It is inevitable that most businesses will have to make considerable adaptions to the workplace and working practices in the post-pandemic era. If you don’t take the initiative, the government probably will – or even worse, your employees will.
If your staff do not feel you are doing enough to protect their health and wellbeing, they will be more inclined to find an employer that is.