As employees begin to return to the workplace after the pandemic, it’s important to prioritize their health and well-being.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports employers incurred a cost of $41.86 per hour, on average, for civilian workers in September 2022. This amount was higher for union workers and averaged $57.02 per hour.
Measures should be in place to create a healthy work environment. Employees in such an environment will be more productive. As a result, companies will see a better return on the amount spent on employees across the US in the form of compensation.
Here are a few steps that businesses can take to create a healthier work environment. By taking a holistic approach, we are providing suggestions for improving mental health through cultural and therapeutic interventions, in addition to physical health safeguards to prevent transmission of infections like COVID-19.
- Mental Health Needs to be a Priority
The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health, and it’s important to support employees as they return to the workplace. Encourage employees to take breaks, get outside, and take care of their overall well-being.
An environment conducive to creativity and team spirit is crucial as millennial and Gen Z employees are quick to quit workplaces with toxic cultures. The right hires at all levels will encourage a healthy work culture.
Your role as a responsible employer should extend to ensuring no employee causes any harm or damage to coworkers by bullying or intimidating them. That, in turn, highlights the importance of running background checks before recruiting new employees.
If you are hiring employees in Tennessee, make sure you hire a reliable service provider who is well-versed in Tennessee background check laws. As the state adopted the “ban-the-box” law in 2016, there are restrictions on what information employers can obtain through background checks.
Consider offering resources, such as counseling services or mental health days, to support employees as they transition back to work. Encourage employees to seek therapy if they feel overwhelmed or unsupported in their lives. Normalize conversations revolving around mental wellness.
- Sanitization of Premises
Even though 65% of the population of Tennessee has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the risk of a re-infection is still high in the state and the whole of the United States.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the 7-day average of weekly new cases in the US was 67,243 as of 4th January 2022. This is 16% higher than the previous 7-day average. It is a cause for concern, and strict measures to prevent transmission should be in place.
Implement proper cleaning and disinfection protocols. With the spread of COVID-19, it’s crucial to ensure that the workplace is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected regularly.
This includes surfaces such as desks, keyboards, and phones, as well as common areas like restrooms and break rooms.
- Implement Hand Hygiene
Encourage employees to wash their hands frequently or use hand sanitizer when handwashing isn’t possible. Make sure that hand sanitizer and hand washing stations are easily accessible throughout the workplace.
- Encourage Respiratory Etiquette
To prevent the spread of respiratory illness, encourage employees to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze or to use the inside of their elbow.
Provide masks for usage by employees and implement proper disposal of used masks and tissues. Remind employees to dispose of tissues properly and to wash their hands after sneezing or coughing.
If you are planning an offline event, take the necessary precautions to implement social distancing. Try opting for picnic-style get-togethers in outdoor venues.
- Ensure Physical Distancing
To reduce the risk of transmission, encourage employees to maintain a distance of at least six feet from others when possible. You can rearrange workspaces to allow for more distance between employees. Staggering work schedules to reduce the number of people in the workplace at one time is also another option companies can explore.
For teams that do not need to be physically present at work, ensure a work-from-home option is available. This will allow you to free up desk space and prevent overcrowding in the office and cafeteria.
Due to an extended period of work from home, many teams haven’t had face-to-face encounters in a while and may want gatherings. Create platforms for networking and team-building activities. It can be a virtual platform, too, but feel free to use options like Augmented Reality (AR) to deliver an immersive and fun experience.
By taking these steps, businesses can create a healthier and safer workplace for their employees as they return to work. It’s important to prioritize the health and well-being of employees to ensure a productive and successful work environment.