Simple Steps to Maintain a Safe Workplace in the New Normal

business professionals wearing masks during an in-person meeting

Health and safety are front of mind as companies transition employees back into the workplaceBelow are simple precautions to create a safe workplace as the business community begins its new normal 

In-Person Meetings  

When in-person meetings are necessary, it is best to communicate expectations and safety procedures ahead of time to ensure a safe and effective meeting.  

    • In a recent Doodle survey, approximately 60% of employees said they attend meetings that don’t accomplish the purpose of the meeting. If team members must gather in person, ensure the meeting will be productive by creating an agenda with clear objectives and distributing ahead of time. 
    • Communicate your company’s safety procedures to meeting attendees ahead of time. If you are the meeting organizer, information that should be shared with attendees ahead of time might include:  
        • Mask requirements. If your company is enforcing mask requirements, be sure to share this with guests so they are prepared ahead of time.  
        • New arrival procedure. If you need to meet attendees in the lobby and escort them to the meeting room, let them know what to expect. 
        • Temperature checks. Be sure to notify guests of any temperature checks procedures upon arrival.  
        • If you are an attendee, it is important you respect the organizer’s safety protocols and comply. If you are uncomfortable with any safety measures, talk with the organizer about alternatives or ask if remote participation is possible. 
    • If you are the meeting organizer, plan to arrive early so you can wipe down the table with disinfectant wipes.  
    • Arrange chairs so attendees can comfortably sit six feet apart.  
    • Set up a hand sanitizing station in the meeting room and ask attendees to sanitize as they enter and exit 
    • Remind attendees to refrain from shaking hands. A simple wave or nod works just as well 
    • If food is being provided, ensure necessary safety precautions are taken when it’s delivered and served 
    • Once the meeting is over, wipe down the table, chairs, and door handle with disinfectant wipes. 

Building Ventilation 

    • Before employees return to the workplace, the CDC recommends checking the building’s ventilation system. Since the air system has likely been shut down for a period of timeensure the system is meeting inspection guidelines.  
    • Open doors and windows if safe to do so to increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible. 
    • Increase the percentage of outdoor air to 100%. This can be done by using economizer modes of HVAC systems.  
    • Disable demand-control ventilation (DCV) controls that reduce air supply based on temperature or occupancy.
    • Improve central air filtration by inspecting the filter and ensuring it fits correctly to minimize filter bypass.  
    • For a complete list of ventilation precautions, visit the CDC website 

Around the Workplace  

  • Set up cleaning stations with hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Encourage employees to wipe down desks and chairs frequently. These stations and products will need to be regularly checked and refilled.  
  • Ask employees to wear a mask as they move around the workplace 
  • Rethink the flow of foot trafficConsider making hallways and stairwells one way to minimize the number of times coworkers cross paths.  
  • See Wellness Works’ comprehensive employee checklist for more workplace safety precautions 

As employers, it is your responsibility to ensure employees are in safe work environment. By improving ventilation, setting up and refilling cleaning stations, and enforcing safe in-person meeting procedures, you will help protect employee health as the business community begins its new normal.