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While states all over America slowly work to reopen, businesses of all types still need to practice great caution when it comes to preventing the spread (or resurgence) of COVID-19, and this rings just as true for warehouses as it does for bars and restaurants.

During the shutdowns, warehouses were in the delicate position of still being deemed ‘essential’, but needing to practice even greater health and sanitation routines than normal, even for something like food storage warehouses. This has likely led to a number of changed policies throughout your warehouse in regards to communication, sick days, regularly-scheduled sanitation, and more.

Some of these policies were likely implemented for the short-term safety of your workers and inventory during the peak of the pandemic. Even as the numbers subside and things slowly return to whatever “normal” is now, however, a lot of these safety strategies can come in very handy through the next few years as the world works to figure out what needs to be done to keep ourselves safe down the road.

 

For example, clear and open communication will likely become the standard. While you’ve hopefully already kept open lines of communication with your team before the pandemic started, most warehouses have adopted a much more frank, insightful, and transparent relationship with their teammates, vendors, and clients through all of this. Keeping this around is paramount – even after the quarantines end, regular updates with your workers as to the state of the company and the current challenges you face can keep up morale and fight misinformation/rumor from spreading too far.

 

Your warehouse can also gain a lot from continuing to enforce a stricter sick policy. Many warehouses (and other workplaces where large numbers of people need to gather) have been checking workers’ temperatures at the door and providing hand sanitizer for anyone entering the building. If a worker fails these temperature checks, even after the official COVID-19 pandemic has been lifted, it’s best to send them home for the safety of the rest of the team, at least for the near future until we know we have some kind of vaccine or defense against it.

 

Similarly, safer picking practices will need to be maintained. By now your team has probably gotten well used to having more space between your pallet racking and industrial shelves, as well as sending out fewer pickers and providing more space between them to focus better on social distancing. Even if the overall quarantine guidelines have started to be relaxed in your state, it’s important for you to not immediately go back to full capacity – find a way to continue staggering your shifts and providing greater barriers or distance between your team members to lessen the risk of contagion spreading between team members.

 

Finally, the best thing you can do for your team is to encourage collaboration. We’re all in this together, and in these days of essential workers and increased demand for warehousing overall, your workers are facing just as many – if not more – challenges as your management team. Make sure everyone knows they have a voice, and everyone knows they can come to management with challenges or suggestions to help keep things rolling along, even in times of stress.

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