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Across the country, most states are in a gradual process of reopening after the various COVID-19 quarantines and shutdowns, but just because your business is reopening doesn’t mean the risk of coronavirus is totally passed.

Businesses of all types, particularly those where the workers need to be in close proximity to one another such as warehouses, are still at risk for exposure to COVID-19 without the proper safety plans in place. No matter how many additional safety precautions and sanitation options you’ve put into place throughout your warehouse, making sure your workers feel safe enough to return to work is paramount.

Simply reopening your warehouse and bringing everyone back in isn’t enough. Your employees need to know you have a clear and well-thought out procedure for keeping your space clean and your workers safe, even as COVID-19 numbers continue to peak and valley throughout the country. This can go a long way towards improving morale and encouraging the feeling among your staff that the company is actively looking out for them, even during these unprecedented times.

 

One of the first things you should focus on is defining policies. Not only will this help the rest of your safety implementation go more smoothly by keeping everyone on the same page, it will help to answer any questions your workers may potentially have about returning to the office. This can go a long way towards instilling confidence and security in your management team, and make your workers feel more like their best interests are being kept in mind.

 

Next, explain any and all changes you make. After you start to implement more social distancing programs in your warehouse, including greater distance between pallet racking, the use of things like gravity conveyors to encourage distance, and a revision of your picking process to allow fewer workers on the floor at one time, let your workers know the thinking behind these changes. Focus on how you’re making these alterations to help keep them safer while they return to work, and be prepared to answer any questions they may have about the process in the meantime.

 

Even as you develop these plans, include the workers in your process. Setting guidelines for the immediate return to the workplace is a good start, but soliciting feedback and suggestions from your workers will provide you with a better ground-level view of the challenges they encounter during the workday, as well as help them feel more involved in their surroundings.

 

Finally, no matter what changes you make, make sure to always reference state and federal guidelines. Even though it may be challenging to adhere to the CDC’s guidance on many given issues, knowing that your policies are up-to-date with what the official recommendations are for your area can help clear up any confusion and encourage your workers who may have concerns. This is also an opportunity for you to bring some underemployed workers (who have less to do during the slowdown) in to help keep up with changing CDC guidelines and draft new policies and programs around them.

By keeping open lines of communication and encouraging feedback, your workers can start to feel much more secure and comfortable as they return to work.

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