Gradually, states and cities begin to reopen their businesses, albeit with reduced capacity in some cases. It's an important time for companies to balance the need to return to business with ongoing concerns around the risk to employee health as well as the organization's reputation. Brazilian companies can take as examples the lessons learned from the reopenings in Asia and Europe, which are starting to reopen within strict new regulations, which are likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future.


As you restart your business, consider three steps that can help you keep yourself, your employees, and your customers safe:


1. Review your workplace


O design open-space office space, which has gained in popularity over the past decade, was promoted to encourage employee interaction and innovation. Today, they pose major health problems and are rapidly being discarded in favor of socially distanced workspaces that limit physical contact. It is time to close rest areas and cafeterias to discourage crowding. Removing or relocating water coolers or coffee stations from the office also helps maintain social distancing rules. Another recommended action is to analyze the flow of office traffic to determine which routes people usually take to reach their desks and where congestion forms most frequently. Distance and direction markers can be placed on the floor to prevent office blockage or crowding around entry and exit points such as elevators.


And of course, it's worth considering remote work whenever possible, even when the team returns to the office. A good example is the use of videoconferencing for meetings in place of the conference table. Creating a safe environment is critical to increasing employee trustworthiness, so actively communicating any changes will help reassure them.


2. Be flexible


Not all employees are comfortable returning to the workplace, even when stay-at-home restrictions are lifted. This can be especially true for employees at risk or with family members at risk, or even those who rely on public transport. By being flexible, you can reduce employee stress. In turn, this can improve productivity, allowing your organization to better weather this time of uncertainty.


Flexible schedules are a good way to go, allowing people to work longer hours on fewer days, for example to manage childcare needs or minimize the trips they take on public transport. Make exceptions for employees in high-risk categories and explore ways to allow them to continue working remotely.


3. Prioritize health and safety


As your employees return to the workplace, you can implement measures to help protect them. For example: daily temperature checks, mandatory use of masks, official social distancing rules, disinfection and quarantine procedures, procedures in case someone gets sick at work, among others.


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