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Preventative Measures to Protect Your Office and Employees From Omicron

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In Hong Kong, the recent wave of Omicron has caused immense concern for both employees and employers. Workers are rightly anxious about whether they are suitably protected in their office, and are filled with uncertainty in regards to potential workplace disruptions such as community outbreaks, mandatory quarantine and vague WFH protocols. As managers and HR executives, your concern probably lies in supporting your employee’s physical and mental health needs, maintaining operational efficiency and ensuring employees feel safe in their workplace. In this article, we will share the ways in which you can address your employee’s concerns while still maintaining productivity.

Tip #1: Split Office Teams (A-B Teams)

For some employees, working from home can have a negative impact on productivity, whether it be from distractions at home, lack of socialising with colleagues or family obligations. Implementing a split team allows employees to still maintain a sense of normality while minimising the potential spread of COVID or other viruses. 

A split team consists of two divided groups in an office that alternates time in the office on a weekly or daily basis. For example, Group A (consisting of marketing members) may be in the office for one week, while Group B (consisting of IT support technicians) will be in the office the week after. Larger companies can consider dividing teams to reduce impact even further.

By implementing this method, you can fulfil the needs of employees who prefer to work at the office while halving the spread of bacteria and reducing the number of employees who may be faced with forced-quarantine if a colleague falls ill with COVID.

Tip #2: Implement a Work From Home Policy

Working from home has become an integral part of businesses combatting the pandemic, but the speed in which the workforce has had to embrace this method of working has caused a multitude of issues such as undue stress and anxiety on many employees. Now it's clear why. A McKinsey survey found that out of 300 businesses, only a third had implemented a solid WFH policy. Coupling this with recent findings that a major source of employee dissatisfaction is a lack of WFH policies, we can begin to assemble a clearer picture on how failing to provide clear instructions for employees can result in employee demotivation and increased anxiety.

Stay a step ahead of any disruptions by developing a work from home policy that succinctly outlines expectations, and creates channels and infrastructures that aid your business in mitigating potential challenges you may face when making the switch. 

Offering your employees a thoughtfully developed work from home arrangement isn’t just a way to maintain operational efficiency. It is an opportunity to demonstrate your ability as a leader, allowing your employees to feel confident in the knowledge that the business they work for is able to adapt to and manage any situation.

Tip #3: Provide Protection Equipment + Personal Hygiene

An office employee maintains office hygiene protocols by using hand sanitiser supplied to him from the company

The pandemic has acted as a major catalyst for re-examining the concepts of personal hygiene and protection with 84% of Americans intending to continue to use enhanced hygiene practices such as frequent hand washing and use of sanitiser. Consequently, this attitude has extended to workplace expectations. 83% of employees expect their employer to enforce proper hygiene protocols, and an overwhelming 89% would like to see hygiene resources implemented in their workplace. These numbers make it clear - office hygiene isn’t a wish, it’s an expectation.

Show your employees you understand their concerns by supplying fully stocked hygiene stations. Even better, provide each employee with a ‘hygiene package’ – items from simple hand sanitisers to wipes specifically made for tech equipment can make employees feel cared for, and signal a level of understanding and support that employees are looking for in these turbulent times.

Tip #4: Invest in Office Cleaning Services

This should come as no surprise. Ensuring a safe working environment should be at the heart of any office hygiene strategy. However, what was once the norm - a quick sweep and wipe with a damp mop - isn’t going to cut it anymore. Emerging research shows that the major (and often overlooked) sources of bacteria and viruses aren’t from overflowing paper baskets or dusty shelves, it’s from office equipment your employees regularly use. 

This is why any service you choose for office disinfecting must be equipped to deal with these hotbeds of bacteria. Otherwise, your office will only be clean on a superficial level and you’ll remain prone to viruses and illnesses circulating around the office. Using services such as OVNU, with services based on anti-microbial technology, you can ensure your employees benefit from a safe working environment, and the benefits don’t stop there. New research has suggested that employees who work in a clean, hygienic environment are more likely to be productive and happier.

The Bottom Line

While it is essential for any business to implement appropriate strategies to maintain operational efficiency, it is just as important to prioritise the health and wellness of employees. Doing so not only protects them from viruses and harmful bacteria, but also demonstrates your competence as an organised, caring and capable leader.

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