As we kickstart the economy and move into Level 3 we will continue to have fond memories of what business life was like before COVID-19.
But the old ways have gone and we now face a ‘new normal‘- demonstrated by the government as a series of levels.
Not much has changed under Level 3 for those at home. The bubble is still the bubble, though it can now be extended in certain circumstances, as can certain leisure activities.
The business bubble in Level 3 is quite different. Essential services operating under Level 4 have had a 5-week start on implementing social distancing, contact tracing and hygiene standards, the extra time allowing them to determine what does and doesn’t work and to get things right.
Level 3 businesses need to have a plan. They need to think and engage with their workers on what the ‘new normal’ for their business bubble is going to look like.
There are four basic things we need to establish and then improve:
- Contact tracing
- Social distancing in the workplace
- Worker and workplace hygiene
- What to do when someone becomes unwell.
Your plan does not need to be perfect, but it needs to be adaptable so it can be improved on over time, just as people do. There are four key things to think about and then continue to review:
- How will you ensure all workers know how to keep themselves safe from exposure to COVID-19?
- How will you operate your business in a way that keeps workers, contractors and others safe from exposure to COVID-19?
- How will you manage an exposure or suspected exposure to COVID-19?
- How will you monitor and review this plan and how often?
Right now, both employers and employees are facing uncertainty. Uncertainty can lead to fear, anxiety and anger over time. No one has all the answers.
Many business owners rely on being able to manage or control what happens in their business, so not feeling in control can add to that uncertainty.
Think about what you can and can’t control and then think about what you can and can’t influence.
For example, you can control how your workplace is laid out and where people enter and exit.
You cannot control workers when trying to maintain social distancing, but you can influence them by engaging with and educating them, encouraging feedback and undertaking effective monitoring.
Making them aware and simply being curious about how they are doing will mean a lot.
Operating under levels 3 and 2 is more than having a set of rules - it’s about the livelihood of businesses and their people.
Those businesses who do not have all the answers, but are willing to engage, reflect and learn, will be more adaptable and resilient as we move forward into the ‘new normal’.
Download Brent Sutton's 7-step COVID-19 Return to Work Plan here.