3 Ways to Make the Workplace Safer and More Pleasant in Wake of COVID-19

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Are you a business owner who previously had to instruct staff members to work from home after stay-at-home orders were announced? That was a time of great uncertainty and upheaval.

If so, the chances are good that your workers have returned to the office and that things are getting back to normal…or as close to normal as can be expected. COVID-19 isn’t yet over. In fact, numbers are starting to creep back up now that the temperatures are dipping. But perhaps society at large has reached the point where the impact of the virus is more manageable.

If you’re a business owner, there are some things you can do to make your workspace safer and more pleasant for your staff members. Here are three things to add to your to-do list.

1. Professional Cleaning

One option is to hire a commercial cleaning company to come in once a week — or at whatever intervals make the most sense for you — to clean and sanitize your office space. Cleaning in the age of the coronavirus isn’t just about vacuuming and dusting. You also need to sanitize your work environment. That means disinfecting keyboards, tables, door handles, and all surfaces.

Pay special attention to the areas where people congregate whether for work or recreation. Doing this will help reduce the number of times employees phone in saying they are too sick to come in for work.

2. Set Up Outdoor Cooking and Eating Area

Another way to make things safer, and more comfortable, for your staff members is to set up an outdoor kitchen. They’ll have another space to eat, socialize, and just unwind during break times. Of course, setting up an outdoor space for cooking and eating might not be ideal some periods of the year. Do you live someplace where the winter period includes freezing cold temperatures, snow, and ice? Your workers will want to stay indoors as much as possible during the winter.

But it still makes sense to invest in an outdoor cooking and eating area — even if it’s only for three seasons. You can go as simple or as elaborate as you want. If you want to go big, get an outdoor kitchen. It can include a gas range, counter space for meal prep, sinks with running water, storage, tables, and chairs. If you’re on a tight budget, a gas grill, some tables, and some chairs are all you need.

Even if your building has good ventilation, it’s still a good idea to offer employees the option of enjoying their coffee breaks or lunch breaks outdoors if they want. Having everyone cooped up indoors can be a recipe for disaster — especially during the winter when COVID-19 cases climb.

3. Make Your Bathrooms More Sanitary

There are different ways you can make your bathrooms at work more sanitary. You’ll want to regularly clean the floor, toilets, sinks, doorknobs, and countertops. But you can go a step forward and install faucets that are motion-activated. That way, people won’t have to turn knobs on or off. You can also have motion-activated soap dispensers and towel dispensers. Doing these things will limit the amount of contact people have with things in the bathroom areas.

You can also install bidets to make your bathroom more sanitary — and to cut down on toilet paper. Do you know what a bidet is? They’re available in the U.S. but are more common in other regions around the world like, for instance, Europe and Asia. A bidet is designed to clean your rear end after you go to the bathroom. Rather than using toilet paper, you essentially sit on a fixture attached to your toilet or on a self-contained bidet unit, activate its faucet, and allow a stream of water to clean you up after you go to the bathroom for number two.

Making Your Workplace Safer Is Your First Order of Business

Your first order of business is to ensure that your staff members are safe. Taking the right measures to protect your workers has always been essential, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more crucial to take proper actions. The coronavirus may be around for a long time yet — if not forever. The measures above will help you protect your most valuable assets — your employees. And they’ll appreciate that their safety is a primary concern.

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Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in tech, social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.