Back to Work: Social Distancing Challenges in the Workplace
June 20, 2020
UPDATE: The UK government has published sector-specific guidelines to help make workplaces as safe as possible and give employees confidence to go back to work. Download the factories, plants and warehouses guidance here!
Returning staff to work whilst adhering to social distancing measures may result in the disruption of usual business and production processes, only to be made worse if some employees are still remotely working. The communication challenges this creates makes it almost impossible to get the workplace back to normal.
Internal Communication is one of the most crucial components in ensuring that a business – no matter what size – is operating at its best. According to a Microsoft and YouGov report, Driving Growth in Small Business, which looked at small and medium businesses back in 2019, the majority of employees thought that their working environment did not support meaningful collaboration. Specifically, 42% of staff described communication among colleagues within their workplace as sociable. 20% went as far as saying it was unproductive. Understandably, communication within the workplace has been further impacted since the Coronavirus Pandemic with the introduction of social distancing measures, but there are ways to overcome these challenges.
Preventing Face-to-Face Working
The Driving Growth in Small Business report also highlighted that the preferred method of communication which was used most among 74% of UK employees was face-to-face engagement. However, the new guidelines in place stress the need to avoid face-to-face interactions where possible making it much more difficult for employees to discuss job activities with their colleagues.
John Lewis Manufacturing faced these restrictive communication challenges and reached out to TotalControlPro™ to provide the solution to facilitate getting their employees back to work quickly and safely.
Like all our customers, John Lewis Manufacturing has access to the on-screen Job Notes function which allows them to send; targeted, team, department, or even company-wide messages. This removes the need for long face-to-face debriefs, keeping their employees safe. Improving communications allows workers to improve their productivity by saving an average of 30 minutes per operation, per day!
In April 2020, statistics released by the UK’s Office for National Statistics showed 49.2% of adults in employment were working from home, as a result of the social distancing measures introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The measures in place emphasise that if you can continue working from home you should.
Our cloud-based system has enabled those who are still working remotely to stay updated quickly while effectively communicating with other on-site team members. If a production manager is off-site, they have the ability to send and receive messages both to and from the shop floor. Similarly, sales or customer service teams can remotely access job information tracking and provide real-time information to their customers, including the job status and production stage.
Reinforcing Cleaning Processes
One of the governments key measures to ensure the safety of employees returning to work states that workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards. It is important that these cleaning processes are tracked and managed correctly so both employers and employees can have confidence that staff safety is being maintained.
Stephen’s Catering have been a particular success story when it comes to reinforcing cleaning processes. They reached out to TotalControlPro™ with the need of updating their system to track workstation cleaning processes. Now they have the ability to track cleaning workflows and boost confidence within their workforce that they are maintaining staff safety .
The unfortunate reality of returning to work after the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, is that what is considered normal for each industry; is not safe or practical in present times. So instead of trying to get back to normal, it’s time to move forward by creating a new “normal”. We all need a new way to communicate and manage people, products and processes in a safe and effective way, that helps to make up for the lost profits from the last few months.