The world has changed in the face of the Covid19 pandemic, not only in the more apparent aspects affecting us now. Looking to the future, legal responsibilities concerning due diligence are expanding in unforeseeable ways. Legal practitioners now offer online consultation, some, like Lamber Goodnow, are doing so free of charge to assess potential claims.
Although it would require clairvoyance to fully map the future of safe practises, there are several emergents exercises that we can, within reason, expect to see in the future. It may be easy to imagine the imminent return of the status quo once a solution to Covid19 has been found. The reality is, as has been broadly investigated by many authorities, there is no going back from here.
It is the cultural zeitgeist regarding the path forward that needs to change. With no return to what was once the norm, we must look to new health and safety practises and the implementation of said practices in the industry. Our brief list looks at examples that employers should insist on right off the bat.
Stringent Distancing Practices
The obvious one, but it is also the set of standards set to impact the workplace most. As many countries are still under lockdown, we have not seen the implementation of new measures at any significant scale. Actions such as limiting numbers in meetings and encouraging employees to work remotely should be the priority. Fortunately, the tools for this are already widely in use. It will be prudent to conduct office meetings remotely, even if on the same premises.
One of the real insights to come from lockdowns, the long-held fear of employees, not performing when working from home, is inaccurate. There are economic and ecological benefits to the practice and is predicted to be standard practice in the years to come. Shared office space should be partitioned, where possible employees should not be in direct contact with one another.
Enforced Hygiene Protocols
It is easy to foresee government-enforced legislation regarding hygiene in the workplace. In anticipation, there are some hygiene practises that should be maintained. Such practices include regular hand sanitizing and scheduled office space sanitizing. The continued use of face masks has also become essential.
Culturing Personal Responsibility
As a management directive, it is essential to set in place a company-wide ethos of personal responsibility. This practice should be in the form of a seminar or frequent briefings regarding personal responsibility in regards to the spread of viruses.
Key to the success of such a program would be to work against stigmatization. You want to cultivate an environment of honesty and a sense of security in being honest. The program should be embedded in HR practices, looking to professional input into implementation. For the program to be successful, it should be run company-wide. From executive-level and down, there should not be a sense of disparity in the application.
It would be best if you also educated staff on self-assessment and protocols. A health care worker can be consulted to educate and empower staff with knowledge regarding prevention and awareness of common symptoms. As mentioned, these practices would have seemed extreme and bizarre before the current situation. Now, these will become the gold standard of responsible practices for employers to implement.
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