Controlling the Coronavirus and returning to the workplace

May 11, 2020

Post COVID-19, is it time to get back to the workplace?

The Coronavirus outbreak appears to have reached its peak in many countries. For some, the ease of restrictions for work and travel is taking place. The pandemic, starting in China, has swept across the world into Europe and the Middle East and, subsequently, the United States and Latin America.

Global disruption of the supply chain has made a significant impact on how we conduct business both domestically and internationally.

Man at laptop working from home during COVID-19Many offices have closed their doors with working from home, becoming the new 'normal.' Statistics in some countries now demonstrate that the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on public health has reached its peak, and governments are beginning to assess the possibility of reopening business entities with social distancing measures in place. In some cases, it has already started.

Implementing social distancing measures & sanitization

The 'back to work' challenge is to identify how social distancing measures can be implemented to keep employees, clients, and visitors safe and protected. Many facilities have elevators or shared public facilities, for example, therefore, keeping a safe distance from colleagues will prove to be a challenge. A return to work plan needs to be well structured, and all case scenarios considered to be effective.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been highlighted as an effective measure to prevent the spread of the virus, items such as face masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer are in high demand throughout the world, making up for a significant portion of current air freight requirements. A sufficient inventory of these items is needed to ensure employees feel safe now and in the future. Employees will need to feel safe returning to a workplace instead of home working.

Before the return of employees, the sanitization of work stations and communal areas is a high priority on the list for many companies. Disinfectant, bleach, and other sanitization products are seeing an influx in demand to prepare buildings and workplaces for the new measures in the post-COVID-19 era. There are many items to be considered when planning a return to work safeguarding the health and well-being of employees. Here are a few:

Steps to returning to work after COVID-19

  • Preparing buildings - Cleaning plans, return to work inspections, HVAC, and mechanical checks.
  • Prepare the workforce - Interim measures for a phased or staged return plan, mitigating anxiety, and importantly employee communications.
  • Control access - Protocols for health and safety checks, building reception, shipping and receiving, elevators, and visitor policies.
  • Create a social distancing plan - Schedule management, decrease density, and office traffic plans to control foot traffic.
  • Reduce touch points and increased cleaning schedules - Open doors, clean desk policy, food plan, and cleanliness of common areas with a focus on hygiene measures. 
  • Communication - Transparent communications, feedback, and responsiveness to adjust post-COVID-19 plans accordingly.

Is social distancing here to stay?

Little is known about the future impact of the Coronavirus, and companies need to continue to learn from and revisit new scenarios in the workplace. Governments have advised that social distancing measures will be required for some time. The implementation of plans to reduce contact amongst employees may serve as additional protection in this uncertain environment.

Spacing staff with a two-meter distance may be difficult in some circumstances, and many businesses are introducing protective screens, for example. One way, people flow, and clear signage may also be beneficial to reinforce the social distancing message.

Keeping doors open will minimize contact on handles and 'high touch' areas that may be contaminated. Importantly, consideration and provisions must be made for any staff member that may feel unwell while in the office. Employers will need to consider detailed risk management approaches to safeguard their health and minimize the risk of infection at all times.

We are here to help post COVID-19

The Coronavirus pandemic has presented an abundance of challenges in the world of logistics. As partners with our clients, we are in a position to support your operations returning to work safely. Partnering with our sister company, Crane Safety, we have stock available for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), for example.

DAVACO, a crane company, provides sanitization services, and our logistics experts at Crane Worldwide Logistics are here to support your supply chain challenges with a full range of services including air freight, ocean freight, warehousing, and trade advisory.

Flexibility and agility in the supply chain, as well as a true partnership, will create a competitive advantage in the post-COVID-19 phase. Short term and long term planning are essential to fully overcoming the challenges that the Coronavirus has created.

We are flexible, responsive, and dynamic and are here to support you with a full suite of solutions at this challenging time. 

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