The coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted our world on multiple levels, including the economy, public safety, and society's day-to-day functions. With masks now belonging beside car keys, wallets, and phones as people exit their homes, the arrival of flexible working has been fast-tracked. Employees are returning to offices, and businesses need to turn to flexible working practices to keep their workers safe.
Margaret Chamblee, a successful executive responsible for building three companies over the last twenty years, says that business leaders can prepare their business for flexible working by following these steps:
1. Properly prepare and sanitize the office
For companies taking maximum measures to ensure employee safety, sanitizing the office in the morning and the evening is an effective strategy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends performing routine environmental cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs, countertops, handrails, and workstations. The organization also suggests providing tissues, soap and water, hand sanitizer with sixty percent or more alcohol, and no-touch trash cans. Workstations that face one another should be separated by partitions or reorganized.
2. Create an employee guidebook for new changes
Practicing new safety precautions, along with flexible working, means that there will be some changes in your office culture. Create an employee guidebook with materials that educate and train employees for work adjustments. Be sure to promote etiquette for coronavirus prevention, such as how to cough, sneeze, and wash hands accurately. It is also vital to set clear and structured job expectations for tasks and deadlines if work hours are presented as more flexible.
3. Establish dependable means of communication
When practicing flexible working, leaders have to be lenient with the attendance of employees. Workers who feel sick or have ill family members or roommates should be encouraged to stay home and work remotely. Companies should clearly state what communication tools to use while working from home if they differ from the office, and they should state how much dialogue exchange is expected between managers and employees remotely working.
4. Make yourself and other leaders or managers accessible
In this unpredictable time, business leaders must be extremely accessible to employees. With employees socially distancing and working on different schedules, managers and higher staff should discover the best ways to reach them and implement a game plan for emergencies.
5. Establish a weekly office virtual meeting
A great strategy to touch base with everyone in the company is to schedule a weekly office meeting over a virtual platform such as Zoom or Skype. If your organization has a high number of employees, smaller virtual team meetings are also productive.
6. Practice social distancing
Decrease face-to-face contact between employees through flexible work adaptations such as staggered shift times. Encourage everyone in the office to wear a mask, especially if they pass others less than six feet apart. Limit access to shared stations such as the copier and water cooler.
About Margaret Chamblee
Margaret Chamblee is a licensed pharmacist, experienced marketing and sales professional, and an accomplished executive recognized for the development and growth of three successful companies over the last two decades. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy, where she served as student body president and was the recipient of several honors. After graduating, Mrs. Chamblee spent eight years working as a Senior Sales Representative for Eli Lilly and Company in Houston, Texas. She was a passionate mentor and a consistent high achiever, reaping multiple awards, including Rookie of the Year, President's Council, and five Top Performer Awards.