How to re-open - Post COVID-19
A Measured Approach
Written by Giovanni Donatelli
Since some states are starting to reopen for business, this is a good time to share some information on the best ways to navigate this post COVID-19 world. As concerned individuals and as managers and workers preparing to re-enter soon to be re-opened offices,it certainly feels as if we are in uncharted waters.
There is some guidance to follow, although it is becoming more and more evident that we will be responsible for creating our own programs to ensure we are ready to return to work.
According to the White House Website, the reopening of America will involve a measured approach.
The approach consists of 3 primary categories:Meet Criteria – These are the criteria that need to be met for reopening to occur.
Without getting into details, it is safe to assume that each state that chooses to reopen would meet these criteria.
Preparedness – this is what each State that chooses to reopen should have in place:
- the proper testing
- healthcare system capacity
- and proper plans to protect employees and individuals in critical settings/industries.
Phase Guidelines – There are 3 Phases, and each phase is divided into two categories:
For Individuals, it is important that we follow the common sense requirements:
- Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer, especially after touching frequently used items or surfaces.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Sneeze or cough into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow.
- Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.
- Strongly consider using face coverings while in public, and particularly when using mass transit.
For business, we must develop our own policies and procedures regarding the following:
- Social distancing and protective equipment
- Temperature checks
- Use and disinfection of common and high-traffic areas
- Business travel
This is where the rubber meets the road. These guidelines are useful, but implementing such measures is much easier said than done.
The Language Group is working hard to provide language services to our many clients, so that they can continue to function. Our interpreters are working on site at medical facilities. Our interpreters are also working on telehealth platforms as well as on telephone platform and on our Video Interpreting Platform. The Language Group is also busy translating documents, brochures, manuals, websites, etc for our clients to ensure they can update any of their COVID19 documents in any language they need. With the exception of the interpreters working onsite at healthcare facilities, The Language Group is fortunate to be able to keep our staff and our contract linguists safe while working from home.
Presently, all of TLG’s staff and contract linguists are working from home. We are managing our families’ needs, while also managing our clients’ needs.
However, when our State reopens for business, and we are required to return to the office, what will this new office environment look like?
Here are some items we are putting in place:
1. We will NOT implement a company-wide temperature taking policy.
Why? Because although taking temperature seems like a safe way to go, how do you securely store the biometric data? Also, how do you keep your staff safely distant from one another while they wait in line to get their temperature taken before entering work? The goal is to collect as little data as you can. One idea is to maybe just show the temperature to the employee, and then move on to the next employee. Also, it would be best to NOT train a coworker to do this task, but to hire professionals to do this task. However, this would increase operational costs. So, we have decided to NOT implement such a policy.
2. Don’t assume social distancing will be easy to enforce.
Such as passing someone in the hallway, breakrooms, or bathrooms. Some ideas are to make corridors one-way traffic, if possible. Again, we are aware that some common areas are so small that only 2 people can safely be in that area while still observing proper social distancing guidelines. So, the idea is to time the bathroom breaks so that only one person leaves the office at a time to use the bathroom. And that everyone be patient when going to the coffee/break room, and wait until the previous person leaves the room.
3. Don’t assume all workers will feel safe enough to return to work.
For the companies that can telework, they are fortunate. But for doctors/dentist offices, restaurants, manufacturers and others, how do you work with employees that are not comfortable coming back to work? The Language Group will have a staggered schedule where half the employees will work from home on MWF and the other half will work from home TTF. This will cut our office capacity in half, and allow for more space between coworkers. And if we have staff that does NOT want to come in at any cost, we will try to accommodate.
4. We will implement a mandatory mask policy at work, so that everyone will feel safe as possible while at the office.
5. Lastly, when we have visitors come to the office, we will have a plexiglass panel installed in front of the reception desk so that none of our employees are exposed to the public, and vice versa.
These are the ideas we are working on to ensure our staff are safe when returning to work, while also continuously providing 24/7/365 language services to our clients.
Contact us for more info