Life after lockdown: How to resume work
The most effective way of battling COVID-19 was to implement a nationwide lockdown and that’s exactly what the Indian government did. With lockdown being extended twice, PM Modi recently announced there will be a continuation, albeit with new rules. It's highly likely that new steps will be taken to ease restrictions to restart movement of people.
You might be worried about how to adjust to a post-lockdown world. It's one thing to work from home during the lockdown especially when you know your home is clean and safe, and quite the opposite to prepare for the outside world and leave home to go to work.
It's quite likely that the government will come up with new sets of guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety. Meanwhile, here are some things you can consciously do to make this transition easier for yourself and your co-workers.
1. Avoid mass gatherings
Mass gatherings don't just apply to parties, weddings and temples but also to your workplace cafeteria and conferences. Just generally avoiding being in a group of more than four people might be a good idea, while we’re sure there will be further recommendations on how many people should be allowed to assemble in an area. It might be a good idea until the rate of coronavirus infections slows down in the country.
Internal as well as client meetings should still be conducted via video conferencing as much as possible.
2. Double down on hygiene practices
You may have relaxed your hygiene practices a little staying at home during the lockdown but they will have to go back to the highest level once you go back to work. It's extremely important that you are mindful about what you touch. Wash your hands every time you end up touching a doorknob or press the elevator button with your bare hands. Do not hug or shake hands with anyone, no one will think of you as being rude. You can always come up with your own greeting- like an elbow bump, ankle touch or a namaste. Wipe down your mouse, keyboard, screen and desk daily with rubbing alcohol before you start working. Take a break every 25-30 minutes for 15-20 seconds so you don't feel the need to rub your eyes. Avoid using shared cutlery- if you really do need to use office cutlery, try to wash it yourself, using disposables looks like a good idea too.
3. Distancing at work
The lockdown may be over but that does not mean there is no need for social/physical distance anymore. It's important to ensure that there is a space of six feet between all seats. Whether people in your work environment seem fine or not, you must maintain a proper distance from everyone during this time. There should be no exceptions to this rule. Take the staircase to avoid crowded elevators. If you touch the railing for support, be sure to wash your hands with soap and water as soon as you reach the office- even before you set your bag down at the desk.
4. Carry a protection and safety kit
Prepare a safety kit before you step out- it must include a face cover, hand sanitizer, hand soap, gloves, toilet seat sanitizer and tissue papers. Make sure you wear the face cover as much as possible even inside your work place- not for filtering but it will keep you from touching your face too often. Carry hand soap in a small bottle if your workplace has a soap bar. Use a hand sanitizer whenever you can't wash your hands. Use gloves while dealing with shared items like the coffee machine or the office phone. Use a toilet seat sanitizer before and after you use the shared toilet. Carry tissue papers to sneeze and cough into, to dry your hands and turn off the sink tap.
5. Go digital
If your company hadn't already, propose on going digital now. Save paper as well as the risk of coming in contact with papers that other people may have handled. Scan and send important documents instead. Make sure you use the machines at your workplace using gloves. Keep a digital signature ready for a situation that may require it.
6. Commuting to work
It's essential to wear a face cover and gloves if you travel in public transport. Wash your hands as soon as you reach home or office. If possible, use a digital wallet to make all payments instead of dealing cash. You could also request your manager to allow you to move your shift timings enough so you can travel to work and back during non-peak hours.
7. Entrance health checks
It is non negotiable to check the temperature of all employees at least twice a day. Employees showing symptoms should be sent back home immediately and should be encouraged to not report to work further practicing self-quarantine at home and informing the concerned medical department.
Image Courtesy- firstpost
8. Deep cleaning office premise
To provide employees a safe and clean place to work, it is extremely important that the office premise is thoroughly sanitised before employees resume work. Keeping social distance at the workplace in mind, define areas for loading/ unloading of materials, etc. Common places like cafeteria, conference rooms, scanner and xerox room, etc should be cleaned well for proper hygiene and a big group of people using them at the same time should be discouraged. Place a shoe-rack outside the office and encourage employees to remove their footwear outside to avoid infections.