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Don't Roll the Dice. Here Are Your Three Keys to Reopening—And Doing it Right

When it comes to reopening your business, it can feel like there are 102 things—or more—that need to be done all at once. As a leader in the workplace, you’re now expected to also be a sanitation engineer and healthcare consultant responsible for keeping all employees safe—all while trying to excel at your actual job.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. When our Global Industrial offices reopened last summer, our leaders experienced all of the unknowns you’re experiencing, too. So, we created the Three Keys to help you sort through the noise and get to the heart of what you need as you reopen.

With these messages as your guide, you’ll be on the road to a safe recovery as you get back to business—and stay in it for the long haul. Read on to learn about the Three Keys and how they can help you and your team have peace of mind.

Key #1: Clean Everything Twice

There was a time when business perks included things like cold brew on tap and free snacks. Now, cleanliness is the real amenity employees want and need. As people return to work at scale, anxiety will be running high. Ease their minds by tackling the big concerns before anyone even voices them.

Double your disinfecting supplies

Load up on Health Canada Registered-regulated disinfectants and soap, and be sure to have plenty of disinfectant wipes and personal protective equipment on hand. That way, you’ll be stocked to the gills with anything and everything your cleaning crew and employees could need.

Spend more time scrubbing

Rooms and surfaces in use at your business should be cleaned at least daily, but it’s ideal to clean an item or room after every use. Surfaces that are visibly dirty should be washed first with soap and water to remove dirt, and then disinfected with an Health Canada Registered-regulated disinfectant to read germs their last rites.

Folks don’t have to be on a dedicated janitorial team to become part of the germ-killing crew: everyone in your office can do their part to clean as long as they have the right wipes or cleaners supplied to them.

Be sure and supply nitrile gloves, face masks, coveralls or gowns, and other protective equipment to anyone who may be cleaning, and put up signs to remind them to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after they’ve completed their tasks.

Need to save your team some time? Consider electric foggers, which spray disinfectants onto large surfaces, reducing the number of hours that are needed for a hands-on approach.

Scrub everywhere, including the air

Viruses, allergens, and bacteria may be invisible to the human eye, but the right machines can filter them out. Air scrubbers with HEPA filtration remove at least 99.7% of dust, pollen, mold, and more. This type of investment can provide your employees with peace of mind in the short term—and better quality air for the long haul.

Key #2: Keep Your Distance to Be Nice

If you time traveled back to 2019 and started talking about social distancing, you’d see genuine confusion from the people around you. But now, it’s part of our everyday vernacular. And although keeping six feet of space is the golden rule, it’s not always possible in tight quarters. Here are some precautions to take to ensure employees have their own space—a nice gesture that considers everyone’s safety and comfort.

Make space

If you’re able to place workstations and desks six feet apart, that’s great. If not, physically separate spaces with acrylic or plexiglass desktop partitions. That way, each team member can feel a sense of control over their own slice of the workplace.

With warmer weather on the way for most of North America, consider how any outdoor space could be used for better distancing and airflow among employees. With a Wi-Fi extender and comfortable weather-proof chairs, an empty parking space or two can easily become an al fresco meeting room.

Mark the way

We’re all figuring out our paths in this new world—literally—and we’re trying to avoid crowds during the journey. To create a sense of order in the workplace, use tape to create one-way paths and to designate six feet of distance in areas where employees gather, such as the lunchroom or along assembly lines. This can help avoid crowds and chaos and instill a sense of order and calm.

Show them the sign

Communication is key in imparting new safety rules and expectations. It’s easy for all of us to fall back in our old ways—especially when readjusting to life back in the workplace. Place signs around your business to remind people that times have changed, and they’re now expected to wear masks and observe social distancing rules. The “new normal” may take some time to sink in, so offer friendly reminders to your team through signage.

Talk to your team

After a whopper of a year, returning to work means something different for everyone. Keep in mind that your staff could be dealing with countless invisible challenges. They may have lost loved ones or are actively caring for sick family members; their children could be struggling with changes in their schools; their partner may have lost a job; they could be suffering from anxiety about staying safe and healthy.

Though keeping physical distance is important, these times call for forming stronger bonds. Rebuild your working relationships with your team so they can feel supported. Check in with them frequently to understand what they’re experiencing, and be as accommodating as you can during this adjustment period.

Key #3: Reduce Touchpoints with an Automatic Device

We’ve moved from a high-touch world to a touchless world, and that’s a change your workplace should reflect. Today, anything that can become automatic should. Here are some items to consider replacing.

Automate for the people

Consider what a day at your business looks like. What are the areas people touch the most, and can they be replaced with touch-free items? Think about items like faucets, doors, light switches, toilets, and garbage cans. Replacing manual tasks with automated technology drastically reduces the number of potentially dirty surfaces to be touched.

Replace fountains with filling stations

The thought of putting your mouth near a faucet shared by many simply does not compute in this day and age. Replace outdated water fountains with touch-free bottle fillers, and you’ll solve the problem, while keeping your team hydrated.

Activate sanitation stations

Washing hands with soap and water is the most effective way to kill germs, so consider investing in portable sinks to place in areas where most employees gather. What happens if you can’t get to a sink, or if you can’t transform the space into a portable solution? As we’ve all learned over the past year, hand sanitizer comes in, well, handy.

To help keep germs at bay, install touch-free hand sanitizer dispensers liberally around the office. Make sure to place them in high-trafficked areas—like outside of bathrooms, in break rooms and kitchenettes, at entries and exits—to enable all employees easy access.

Locking in the Three Keys

Let’s say it again, shall we? The Three Keys to reopening are to clean everything twice, keep distance to be nice, and replace outdated objects with an automated device.

As you move forward with reopening plans, remember: Global Industrial can provide everything you need to stay safe at the right price. After successfully reopening our own locations, we can supply you with not only the items, but also the information you need for getting back to business.

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