Sodexo’s 8-step guide for workplaces to reopen safely

Sodexo’s 8-step guide for workplaces to reopen safely

Published on : 6/23/20
  • Workplace ambience has taken on an entirely different connotation in the wake of the COVID-19 threat.

    Employees now look forward to entering a workplace that provides them 100% assurance of keeping the pandemic at bay and ensuring their overall health & well-being. Organizations too desire to ensure complete safety of employees, staff, visitors and clients entering their premises. However, most of them are unsure about the procedures to be followed. They are looking for a comprehensive checklist that would help them take all possible measures in this direction.

    Sensing this need, Sodexo has drawn up an 8-step guide that covers every aspect of workplace safety. Being a global leader in Integrated Facilities Management, and armed with expertise after having successfully countered similar challenges in many countries worldwide, Sodexo has put the spotlight on 8 key steps that can ensure your safe return to the workplace. This guide prioritizes safety, wellbeing and productivity that can help organizations to craft their future and rise with confidence.

    1. Disinfect and clean the office – Before welcoming any employee or staff to office, the organization must ensure that every nook and corner of the workplace is properly disinfected; this includes deep cleaning that eliminates microbial infestation and proliferation. Risk assessment and thorough analysis of different areas to be cleaned should be done prior to reopening. Once the workplace starts functioning regularly, cleaning of high-touch surfaces like door knobs, elevator buttons, light switches, desks, chairs, dispensers, toilet seats, etc, has to be carried out intensively at frequent intervals. The right chemicals and processes should be used.
    2. Maintaining indoor air quality – Health authorities are emphasizing on maintaining good air quality in workplaces. This means that there has to be proper ventilation: doors and windows should preferably be kept open and the humidity levels should be closely monitored. For spaces where air-conditioners are indispensable, the HVAC filters have to be cleaned regularly to ensure proper air flow.
    3. Adjust workplace design to meet social distancing norms – The entire workplace infrastructure has to be rearranged to support social distancing and infection prevention. The spaces should be safe, right-sized and welcoming so that people can be healthy, productive and reach their full potential. Accordingly, the seating in bay areas, meeting rooms and cafeteria has to be restructured to maintain safe distance between people. The elevators and washrooms have to be reorganized and monitored carefully too. With the help of IoT-based space analytics, employee and visitor analytics, real estate footprint can be optimized and user experience enhanced.
    4. Implement contactless solutions – Since the COVID infection is contagious and spreads through contact, great emphasis has to be given on contactless services, especially in the washrooms, near water dispensers, in cafeterias and mailroom services. Digital solutions greatly help in this direction. Sensor-based equipment and app-based payment minimize contact and support contactless services. Digital wallet and video conferencing software are the right solutions.
    5. Employee Health & Wellness– This is an extremely important aspect and begins from the day the employee walks into the workplace. Employee welcome packages that include PPEs like masks, sanitizers, sneeze guards, etc, along with details on importance of using the products, should be provided to each employee. In case, the organization provides concierge services, the transport has to be sanitized regularly to prevent infection. Regular health monitoring has to be ensured. Checking for abnormal temperature levels among the employees and keeping rooms ready for emergency isolation of suspected COVID-positive employees are necessary. Similarly, self-declaration forms for tracking medical, residential and travel history of employees have to be in place. To ensure that employees understand the new normal and can adapt easily to the changed scenario, they need to be educated about the new ways of working and the processes. Proper communication has to be maintained. On-site signages and visual cues will ensure compliance.
    6. Change workplace dining options– Organizations may or may not have on-site kitchen facilities. Also, some employees might attend office, while others might continue to work from home. In any of these cases, food has to be delivered to the employees in a package; the food should be fresh and contain immunity-boosting nutrients. Whether the employee collects his food box at the workplace and consumes it in the cafeteria or at his own work area, or gets it through a cloud kitchen and consumes it at home, the food has to be hygienic and the delivery as contactless as possible. Digitally empowered smart vending unit and pre-packaged grab-n-go choices should be implemented. The packaging should be microwaveable and disposable.
    7. Implement digital visitor management solutions – Clear guidelines must be in place for visitor management at the workplace. Visitors have to ensure proper sanitization and be digitally scanned for contact details and travel history mapping, as well as temperature checks, before being allowed entry. Temperature checking equipment at entrance, proper access control scheme at entrance and exit points and tight monitoring of building capacity, queues and foot traffic routes to reduce visitor apprehension and enhance safety should be implemented. 
    8. Have a response team in place to ensure business continuity – Despite taking all measures, emergency situations might crop up that require immediate steps to be taken. Therefore, a response team has to be alert and ready at all times to take charge if required and mitigate the challenges. Appropriate support should be provided to employees suspected to be COVID-positive.

    With more than 50 years of providing Quality of Life services to organizations across the world, Sodexo has created a systematic and comprehensive approach to help organizations prepare for and implement changes to their daily operations. These services will enable organizations to rise to the challenges and define a new world for their associates, customers, partners, communities and society. This ‘Rise with Sodexo’ program will enable organizations to have access to a comprehensive offering of best-in-class practices created by a team of experts. We have unique capabilities and resources to combine a complete range of services – from disinfection to safety services, healthy and convenient meals to wellness services and space transformation – thus being a one-stop-shop for organizations who are looking for an end-to-end service provider to get back to work and ensure sustenance.

    ‘Rise with Sodexo’ is a holistic approach to health & wellbeing readiness at the workplace through its 3P guiding principles – Preparation, Precaution and Prevention. We will assess your service data from before and after the impact and establish how to address the need of the new reality, identify areas of opportunity to push business forward, align solutions with key departments such as Employee Services, Information Technology and HSE. We will provide a customized reopening plan to ensure your employees return with confidence. 

    To know more about our ‘Rise with Sodexo’ program in India, visit https://in.sodexo.com/services/reopen-and-rise-with-sodexo.html or reach out to us at bdindia.in.apac@sodexo.com