The pandemic has created greater awareness of the need for regular deep cleaning and disinfection in work environments and closed structures. And from a facility services point of view, COVID-19 has changed the definition of "clean" - possibly forever.
To help better explain the do’s and don’ts for different facilities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released six one-page “decision tool” documents that use traffic signs and other graphics to tell organizations what they should consider before reopening.
The guidance follows a phased approach to reopening. These tools were created for schools, workplaces, camps, childcare centers, mass transit systems, and bars and restaurants. Beyond that, the former director of the CDC, Dr. Tom Frieden, shares resources for businesses looking to stay open safely, including a guide to proper contact tracing.
Check out Flagship's free resource: Stay Open Responsibly, Best Practices for Post-Pandemic Facilities Maintenance.
Responsibility has been placed on business owners to devise and implement plans to reopen responsibly and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
As you fine-tune your plans to ensure the safety and health of your facility's occupants, you will need to consider:
- Enhancing cleaning protocols to include disinfection
- Accommodating workplace modifications for social distancing
- Defining and navigating the risk of ongoing contagion
- Clearly communicating changes to staff and executives
Building Trust with Employees
Preparing your facility is only the first step. When you welcome occupants back, there will be a dire need to foster trust among employees. Some workers have stated they won’t return to work out of concern for their health and the safety of their families, despite employers’ promises of safe conditions. A Bospar survey shows that employees are most concerned about the health of their facility – 44% are afraid of being exposed to COVID-19, and 28% have concerns that employers won’t make changes to reduce the risk of infection.
As you welcome employees back, you have to make sure to come at it from a human perspective to foster trust. Combine short-term fixes that will instantly boost worker confidence, stagger working hours to reduce the number of staff that are onsite during the day, and as you implement longer-term design upgrades and modifications, be sure to put hygiene at the heart of all your workplace planning.
Establish Multiple Outlets for Communicating.
Communication will be a key component to establishing trust when welcoming employees back. A strong communications platform will give you a place to explain the measures you are taking to ensure occupant safety and health while allowing employees to communicate their concerns and feel heard.
- Develop a dedicated office response team that includes key leadership, HR, individual contribution teams, operations team, and building managers to help employees return and re-onboard quickly.
- Create a formal feedback forum through focus groups, feedback surveys, etc., to help employees feel comfortable and safe.
- Distribute welcome-back packets that can include a welcome message from the CEO and communications detailing what is expected of team members going forward.
- Install sanitation stations or stock departments with items employees need to be a safe and sanitary team in the office, including hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, etc.
As with every significant project, reopening responsibly has a lot of steps, and there will be a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time.
Flagship will work with your reopening plan and help you refine your scope of work to focus on areas where frequent cleaning and disinfection will have the most impact on your occupants’ health and safety.
Our PUREClean service approach dispatches expertly trained teams to clean and disinfect your facilities in accordance with the CDC recommendations using EPA-approved disinfectants that have helped organizations large and small operate responsibly during this unprecedented time.