The business impact of COVID-19 has been tremendous. According to McKinsey & Company, it could take more than five years for the most affected sectors to fully recover from the pandemic’s impact.
As the fight against COVID-19 continues into the second half of 2020, business leaders are facing ongoing challenges. To mitigate the impact on their own enterprises, executives must scale operations post-lockdown, adapt to new and changing customer demands, and prevent further disruptions and threats to their bottom line.
Employee Safety, Productivity Key to Business Continuity
Employee productivity is critical to overcoming these persistent business challenges. However, driving productivity during a pandemic is a challenge in and of itself. Employees who have been working remotely amid state lockdowns are now being asked to return to work--all while COVID-19 cases reach all-time highs in the US and uncertainty over the upcoming school year looms for employees raising children.
The resulting psychological stress can impair employee productivity and quality of work, hampering business outcomes. In addition, bringing more employees into the workplace at once introduces heightened risk of absenteeism due to illness, which can further disrupt operations.
Enterprise leaders must take the appropriate steps to ensure employees can safely bring their best selves to the workplace. The following are three strategies to help enterprises scale operations and minimize disruptions by prioritizing employees’ health, safety, and confidence in the organization.
1. strike a balance of both remote and in-office work
Lockdowns forced companies worldwide to transition to remote workforces overnight, and the results have been mixed. Many remote workers have been more productive from home, with fewer distractions and no commute time. Regardless of job duties, remote workers may be prone to communication breakdowns and silos that can reduce productivity. Meanwhile, other roles require employees to be physically in the office some or all of the time to efficiently complete all job duties.
Scaling business operations in the new normal will mean maximizing productivity with a balance of both remote and in-office work. In a recent report, Mckinsey & Company suggests taking 70% of your workforce remote or hybrid-remote to maximize productivity, reduce silos, and preserve company culture.
2. focus on employee health, safety, and morale
According to a recent PwC survey, 47% of employees say their employer would need to change workplace safety measures in order for them to comfortably go back to work. Whether employees return to work permanently or in a remote-hybrid approach, the workplace must be a safe place to effectively promote employee morale, productivity, and retention.
In addition to boosting productivity and morale, implementing safe return-to-work best practices will also reduce the risks of business disruptions. For example, keeping employees healthy will reduce the costs of lost productivity due to absenteeism, along with the compounded costs of business disruption if a sick employee infects many of their coworkers.
Longer-term, a safe and effective workplace reopening will have lasting implications for employee retention. Employees are more likely to stay with their current employer if they feel the organization is taking the appropriate steps to ensure their health and safety. As a business leader, it is critical to weigh the long-term costs of recruiting and rehiring staff that leave voluntarily due to your organization’s pandemic response. The shorter-term costs of implementing effective safety standards will pay dividends in the long run.
For detailed information on how to safely reopen your workplace, download our office step-by-step reopening checklist.
3. cost-effectively implement enhanced cleaning protocols
Aside from social distancing and mask policies, one of the best ways to keep employees safe is keeping the office appropriately cleaned and sanitized on a daily basis. Disinfecting and sanitizing all surfaces before and after each shift is a must. In addition, daily vacuuming is critical to maintaining high quality indoor air in carpeted office environments.
However, frequent vacuuming can be extremely time-consuming, taking up more than 30% of your maintenance staff’s time. To save time and reduce excessive labor costs, consider leveraging automated cleaning technologies like Whiz, the autonomous vacuum sweeper from SoftBank Robotics. By offloading a time-consuming mundane cleaning task, Whiz allows staff more time to focus on disinfection and sanitization so you can cost-effectively meet the higher cleaning standards.
A safe workplace is critical to driving employee productivity and scaling operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery. Automated cleaning technologies can help reduce the near- and long-term risks of business disruptions by promoting your employee’s health, safety, and confidence in your organization.
Fortunately, investing in cleaning automation doesn’t have to “break the bank.” Some independent cleaning solutions like Whiz, the autonomous vacuum sweeper from SoftBank Robotics, developed and distributed in partnership with Brain OS and ICE Robotics, are available with a subscription model. This allows cleaning companies and property owners to pilot the solution in their facilities in a way that is cost-effective.