With businesses making workplace safety their top priority, what does the new post-pandemic office look like?
Are you ready to make the home-to-office transition? Or are safety worries making you dread the ‘Office is reopening’ announcement from your company?
Recently, India’s largest IT company and biggest private employer Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) announced that the company is set to end work from home and reopen offices. This decision was confirmed by CEO Rajesh Gopinathan in an interview with a media publication. Apart from criteria like the inoculation of employees, the company will also focus on assessing basic health parameters to secure their premises and welcome employees back with confidence.
Another big name in the list of companies ending work from home is Wipro. Wipro Chairman Rishad Premji recently announced that its leaders will start returning to the office after 18 months of work from home. He also revealed information about the safety protocols that will be undertaken at the Wipro offices, including temperature checks and QR code scans.
With these announcements, droves of employees will be heading back to work, bidding adieu to the screen-oriented world of WFH and reinstating the 3D experience of a lively workplace!!
These decisions can set off a #backintheoffice wave, restore the productive benefits of the physical workplace culture, paving the way for other organizations to take the lead and replenish the social capital that an office environment fosters, better coordination, performance, and a healthier learning experience.
But this monumental shift raises the pressing question regarding the safety of the workforce. Masks, sanitization, and social distance, albeit essential, are not the be-all and end-all. The need for a contactless safety system is imminent and imperative in the new post-pandemic office.
The “touch taboo” has made physical rosters and biometric technology a thing of the past, giving rise to the demand for contactless attendance systems to create a healthy workplace environment.
This is where Helo Health’s design-led innovations like facial recognition attendance systems and automatic body temperature scanners help in compliance with safety protocols and monitor anyone entering your workplace. Helo Health offers its self-service solutions including Mini, a health ATM that facilitates checking of temperature, contactless marking of attendance using facial recognition and access control. The Therm, is an automatic scanner that helps with body temperature check and access control. Explore their contactless safety product range here.
“The wealth of business depends on the health of workers.” -Dr. Maria Neira (Director, Department of Public Health and Environment, WHO)
Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease. A healthy workspace is one in which workers and managers collaborate to use a continual improvement process to protect and promote the health, safety and wellbeing of all workers and the sustainability of the workplace by considering the following:
> Health and safety concerns in the physical work environment.
> Well-being concerns in the psychosocial work environment, including organization of work and workplace culture.
> Personal health resources in the workplace.
> Ways of participating in the community to improve the health of workers, their families and other members of the community.
A healthy work environment helps in maintaining a positive outcome in a stressful atmosphere, influences employee motivation and happiness, and impacts how productive and efficient they can be. Healthy does not only constitute needing medical attention, it is also the outlook of the workplace and surroundings. The aspects of a healthy work environment include:
1. Workplace Culture
Every company has their own corporate culture that determines their values and a standard that are generally followed by employees. When you have created a positive workplace culture that is being practiced by employees as well as yourself, the environment of the workplace tends to be healthier as everyone would have nothing to be upset or unhappy about.
2. Physical Environment and Occupational Health and Safety
A healthy work environment also includes the physical environment of the office or the workshop. Reduce the worry of your employees by looking into the safety of the workplace. It could be as simple as ensuring all the electric cables are taped down or covered with a cable tray to prevent anyone from tripping over.
3. Health and Lifestyle Practice
Employees are the best asset of every organization, and putting effort into employee wellness can encourage better teamwork, increased productivity, and reduce sick leave and workplace accidents. Help your employees to develop and maintain healthy lifestyle practices and drop any unhealthy and/or risky habits that they may have. Having weekly yoga sessions or evening runs with the team are one of those activities that promote and encourage a healthy lifestyle.
4. Supportive Workplace Environment
Everyone has personal problems and it is only human that some of these problems get brought into the workplace. Try not to ignore them but instead, find the core of the problem and be a supportive employer by showing concern. show compassion and be there for them. You do not need to sit by them the whole day, but by just reaching out through an email or a message, saying your doors are always open for them, shows that you not only care about the progress of the company, but you also care about the well-being of your employee. It is important to remember that supportive work culture is the foundation of a healthy workplace.
Now more than ever ensuring a healthy and safe work environment is in need to keep businesses running as we adapt to the new ways of life.
Given the trying times, we are living in today with the pandemic, with countries introducing measures to restrict movement as part of efforts to reduce the number of people infected, more and more of us are making huge changes to our daily routines. We are all taking precautions that were never imagined or thought possible. While it is already established that a healthy workplace is as much to do with the physical environment as it is to do with the psychological aspects, making sure all needed and prescribed precautions are accounted for is key for a foundation of a healthy workplace in today’s scenario.
So how can a healthy and safe work environment be created?
1. Risk Assessment
The identification and assessment of risks in both physical and psychosocial working environments is the starting point for managing occupational safety and health (OSH) under measures. This will help you to understand what you should do to work safely and protect people. Once the risk assessment is updated, the next step is to make an action plan with appropriate measures.
2. Talk to workers and Provide Information
Consult and involve people in the steps you’re taking to manage the risk of coronavirus in your workplace so you can:
> Explain the changes you’re planning to work safely.
>Make sure changes will work and hear their ideas.
> Continue to operate your business safely.
3. Follow Precautionary Measures
> Maintain social distancing.
> Check your health parameters namely temperature, oxygen saturation and hear rate.
>Clean your hands often, using soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub.
>Wear a mask.
>Cover your nose and mouth with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
>Stay home if you feel unwell.
>If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention. (Sourced from The World Health Organization)
4. Learn, Stay Informed and Plan for the future
The amount of information related to can be overwhelming and it can be difficult to differentiate the reliable and accurate from the vague and misleading. Always check that the original source of the information is an established and qualified provider. One of the primary sources of official sources of information includes The World Health Organization. As physical distancing measures start to be relaxed, information may be issued that is specific to particular industries, communities, or groups, and it may be updated frequently. In your country, the ministries for health and for labor will have relevant information and may provide links to more specialized sources. It is also important to draw up or update crisis contingency plans for shutdown and start-up events in the future. Even small businesses can make a checklist that will help prepare them should any such events occur in the future.
So how can Helo Health help you create a healthy and safe workplace?
Helo Health was formed during the lockdown and has right away focused on health solutions that can help businesses resume in the new normal. Helo Health has innovated with Indian components and a design-led approach to build the HELO from scratch as a super-set of health care and wellness functionalities. The HELO acts as an effective screen to ensure employees pass through after a check of their key health parameters and sanitizing themselves and their belongings. The contactless and intrusion-free, face-based attendance system is futuristic and apt in today’s times. Implementing the automated HELO ensures you are taking a step towards a workplace that has healthy employees, you are compliant with reporting requirements, your investment is protected and you reap long terms benefits of health and productivity.
Come lead the change for healthier and safer workplaces today with HELO.
The pandemic continues to rage worldwide. Vaccines are being developed at a furious pace and we are all hoping for respite. The economies are reeling worldwide and it is anybody’s guess how long this virus will continue to haunt us. As far as businesses are concerned, work as we know it, may never be the same again. This brings up the greatest challenge to every sector of work – how do we get back on our feet and move forward with our business despite the health hazard?
While most of the IT and other allied companies have been able to keep their operations alive and function from home and using digital means, many such as factories, schools and colleges, theatre, malls are struggling to cope with the situation between lockdown and unlock. How long can we let this go on? How can we, as leaders, employers, entrepreneurs, and business professionals, ensure that we combat the current situation using our wits and technology?
Like Roger Crawford once said, “Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional.” We as a human race always fight back against the adversities we face. Pandemic is just a call for leaders who can take initiatives and lead change for enabling the return to a safe and healthy workplace – guided by purpose, optimism, and clarity. Here are a few of the things that can be done by employers:
No, really! Empathy is what is most required in times like these. Being empathetic to people who work with you can improve productivity and teamwork, reduce stress, and increase respect for the leadership. It is essential to understand that presently, most people are filled with fear, dread and anxiety about the risk posed by the virus on their health and the implication on their earnings and job security. How can workplace safety and security be ensured? How can onsite work be managed in a sanitary, healthy way? (Read our article about workplace wellness health tips). Essentially, what would the employees need to be safe and feel so in the current context? We can go about this by re-evaluating certain aspects of our business model.
Adapting and investing in cutting edge solutions:
We live in the era of design led and technological innovations. (Read more about AHAY’s design driven approach) The younger generation is increasingly dependent on technology in their day to day lives whereas, the older generations are developing a distaste for certain aspects of tech in everyday life after witnessing the negative effects on the youth. At the workplace, there is also the constant fear of what if technology takes over our jobs? (Click here to watch our founder, Sandeep Bhatia views on this topic) Rest assured, technology is an enabler and accelerator more than anything else. It is a way to make our lives easy. How creatively and efficiently we use it to help with our daily lives depends on the right choices and how well we adopt and adapt to technology.
How can adapting to newer technologies help us get back to business? Since we are developing a newer normal in workspaces, investing in products such as Health ATMs will support long term health solutions, yield maximum returns on investment and ensure that health concerns of the employees can be mitigated. Moreover, you can take initiatives to ensure mental wellness of employees.
Look at the future:
This is of course a commonly used technique by business professionals, leaders and entrepreneurs, to help make investment decisions. A matrix that consists of a correlation between impact on earnings before interest and taxes versus time taken to create impact. The key is to invest in solutions for the today that would still be relevant after the crisis has passed. This will mean the golden balance of immediate returns, long terms benefits and protection of investment.
How can AHAY help you?
We understand that these are testing and unprecedented times for all of us in the world. Most of us are experiencing a pandemic of this size for the first time in our lives. This is the perfect opportunity for all of us to overcome these challenges, take initiatives and make our return to workplaces as healthy and sanitary as possible.
AHAY was formed during the lockdown and has right away focused on health solutions that can help businesses resume in the new normal. AHAY has innovated with Indian components and a design led approach to build the HELO from scratch as a super-set of health care and wellness functionalities. The HELO acts as an effective screen to ensure employees pass through after a check of their key health parameters and sanitizing themselves and their belongings. The contactless and intrusion free, face based attendance system is futuristic and apt in today’s times. Implementing the automated HELO ensures your workplace has only healthy employees, you are compliant with reporting requirements, your investment is protected, and you reap long terms benefits of health and productivity.
We all know at least one person in our social circles who is always sick. These people spend a significant amount of time complaining of health issues and an even greater amount of time hanging out with their doctor. This state of mind in the health industry is called the “sickness/ treatment model”. It is the traditional way that individuals have been taught to deal with their health.
However, in recent years, with the explosion of the fitness industry and a new focus on holistic health, there has been a changing shift of mindset where many health providers are helping their clients transition from the “sickness/treatment model” to the “wellness model.”
So, what are the differences between Sickness/Treatment and Wellness?
Medical treatment or therapy is the attempted remediation of a health problem, usually following a medical diagnosis. Treatments are undertaken to mitigate the medical condition. A cure is different from treatments in the aspect that after the medical therapy, the patient no longer has that specific medical condition.
Wellness is the act of practicing healthy habits on a daily basis to attain better physical and mental health outcomes so that instead of just surviving, you’re thriving. The Wellness Model means caring that takes the focus sickness, to Preventive care. There is a strong emphasis on holistic care where the patient is encouraged to take part in healthy activities that create a stronger body and mind that can ward off illness, instead of relying on the traditional health system to care of a sick body. Wellness is not just a set of practices that are incorporated at the doctor’s office, but rather a lifestyle change.
Why are Wellness Models needed more than ever today?
Irrespective of age, size, shape or perceived attractiveness of a person, it is wellness that is the cornerstone of quality of life. It determines how we ultimately look, feel, interact with others, and thrive in life and work.
‘Given the trying times we are living in today with the pandemic, with movement restricted to reduce the number of people infected, more and more of us are making huge changes to our daily routines.
The new realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling of children, and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends, and colleagues take time to get used to. Adapting to these lifestyle changes, managing fear of contracting the virus and worrying about our close ones being vulnerable is challenging for all of us. Fortunately, there are lots of things that we can do to look after our mental health and to help others who may need some extra support and care.
Here are some things that you could do to keep yourself mentally fit:
(Sourced from The World Health Organization)
- Keep informed: Listen to advice and recommendations from your national and local authorities. Follow trusted news channels, such as local and national TV and radio.
- Have a routine: Keep up with daily routines as far as possible or make new ones.
- Get up and go to bed at similar times every day.
- Keep up with personal hygiene.
- Eat healthy meals at regular times.
- Exercise regularly.
- Allocate time for working and enough time for resting.
- Make time for doing things you enjoy.
- Minimize News Feeds: As much as it is essential to keep up with the happenings of the world, try to reduce how much you watch, read, or listen to news that makes you feel anxious or distressed. Seek the latest information at specific times of the day, once or twice a day if needed.
- Social contact is important: If your movements are restricted, keep in regular contact with people close to you by telephone and online channels.
- Screen time: Be aware of how much time you spend in front of a screen every day. Make sure that you take regular breaks from on-screen activities.
- Video games: While video games can be a way to relax, it can be tempting to spend much more time on them than usual when at home for long periods. Be sure to keep the right balance with off-line activities in your daily routine.
- Social media: Use your social media accounts to promote positive and hopeful stories. Correct misinformation wherever you see it.
- Help others: If you can, offer support to people in your community who may need it, such as helping them with grocery shopping.
- Support health workers: Take opportunities online or through your community to thank your country’s healthcare workers and all those working to respond to pandemics, because like what John Holmes said “There is no better exercise for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”
It is also important to remember that mental health and the overall state of your body in turn also affect your productivity. This means that it is essential for a healthy workforce to be able to keep a business up and running to be able to provide a livelihood. (Read our article on Back to Business Solutions)
Aside from this ensuring that the right Preventive measures are in place to resume businesses is also key, because like Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Preventive Steps to take while returning to workplaces:
(Sourced from The World Health Organization)
- Maintain social distancing
- Check your health parameters namely temperature, oxygen saturation, and heart rate
- Clean your hands often, using soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Wear a mask.
- Cover your nose and mouth with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Stay home if you feel unwell.
- If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention.
How can HELO help you get back to business!!
HELO, the Health ATM helps promote wellness at work by ensuring that the health parameters of each employee and visitor are checked daily, prior to entering office. The HELO provides for provision to sanitize hands and bags, registers attendance or visit/s in a contactless manner. It blocks unhealthy personnel through health screening and enables sanitizing and hygiene.
Lead the change today for healthier and safer workspaces with HELO.