Safety, security and productivity: COVID-19 changes for employees and employers

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a huge number of challenges for businesses of all sizes around the world.

From the changes to the priorities of clients and customers to the modifications that virtually all business have had to make in order to follow COVID-19 social distancing guidelines – there have certainly been a number of alterations to how companies operate. 

COVID-19 changesThroughout this time, organisations must look for ways to balance the need to get their work done and keeping staff safe at all times. This means that businesses can benefit from putting a focus on safety, security and productivity when they think about making any changes to the way that they operate.

Here we take a look at some of the changes small businesses must make in order to enforce their safety and security measures, as well as how they can stay productive through COVID-19 and beyond. 

Business security through the pandemic

It can be easy to shrug off security as a low priority given the number of pressing issues created by COVID-19 – but actually it can play a major role in how a business operates. For example, having secure premises can help you to understand how many people are in the building at any given time, and thus minimise the risk of coronavirus transmission. 

This shows that issues surrounding security can have a much broader impact on the company. Businesses need to start taking their responsibility towards security more seriously – failing to do so could result in the business becoming implicated in the spread of the virus. 

Re-thinking fire safety

It is worth considering how fire safety has been affected by COVID-19. The first thing that it might be worth considering is that many workplaces have put measures in place to make social distancing possible – but some of these measures might not go hand-in-hand with good fire safety practice.

For example, enforcing a one-way system for people to move around the building could create a sense of panic in the event of a fire. Signage could become unclear in terms of the fastest escape route. 

Additionally, it is up to businesses to ensure that their premises are protected against fires whilst they are unoccupied. It might be the case that a business has temporarily closed its offices in order to have employees work from home. To minimise the risk of fires, these businesses should ensure that all electrical equipment is shut down and unplugged, and a large amount of stock or supplies should not be allowed to build up. 

Productivity is impacted by more than you think

Many business owners consider productivity to be an issue of effort. When members of staff put in more effort, they get more done. But actually this has nothing to do with productivity on a business scale. 

Here productivity is based on more fundamental issues such as whether employees have the right training to do their job – and indeed if they are in a safe and secure environment that allows them to work to the best of their abilities. If businesses want to push forward with high levels of productivity, they need to work on safety and security. 

Make the most of furlough

It is important to note that businesses are not able to work for the company if they have been furloughed – nor are they able to make money, either indirectly or directly for the organisation. However, they are able to take part in training sessions that have been paid for by the business – so in this sense, it is possible for furloughed employees to train and essential benefit the company through expanding their knowledge. 

Whilst this might seem like an expense from the perspective of the business, it can actually help hugely in terms of business productivity. When furloughed staff make their return to the office they can provide no information and ideas. 

Final thoughts

Both employers and employees have had to make changes to their normal working behaviour as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – and it is important to remember that everyone is doing the best that they can. Safety and security might not feel like a big priority, but as they can have such a massive impact on productivity as a whole, they must be taken more seriously.