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By now we’re far enough into the various challenges posed by COVID-19 on the warehousing industry to start asking ourselves “what’s next?”

 This question can take a few forms. “What’s next” could be anything from what the next week will bring in regards to news about the quarantine and the total amount of COVID-19 infections, to what the next few months can mean for your business, financially and otherwise.

However, a bigger “what’s next” we all need to think about is what your warehouse will look like when everything opens back up. We should be hesitant to say “go back to normal” because, frankly, nothing will be “normal” the way we knew it before – instead, it may serve us well to understand what the “new normal” may be and how we can adapt our warehouses to it.

The “New Normal” For Warehouses Post-COVID 19

 

Defining the “new normal” can take a lot of forms, but there’s a few things that will ring true among all businesses and areas where large numbers of people gather.

Going forward, you can expect health and safety requirements to be much stricter, especially in regards to concepts such as social distancing. The days of large groups of people teeming en masse inside a confined space may well become a thing of the past, as federal and local regulations are likely to be put in place encouraging decreased amounts of people in a given facility, and greater distance between them to prevent the further spread of potential infections.

You can also expect the current steps your warehouse is taking to last into the future. Office staff may be working from home more often, workers on the floor will need to adhere to stricter schedules to keep them farther apart, and everything may be changed in subtle ways that can still affect your warehouse’s overall operations and performance.

What Can Your Warehouse Do To Adapt To Life After The Coronavirus?

 

To keep up with the expected changes in policy, as well as encouraging greater health and safety overall amongst your team, there’s a few things warehouses may be required to do in the future:

  • Encourage social distancing: Keeping everyone the recommended six feet apart is more difficult in a warehouse than it would be at the grocery store. To make sure your workers are achieving the required distance, set up new picking/packaging routines to minimize the overall number of workers on the floor at any given time, and space things like warehouse shelves and gravity conveyors farther apart to ensure that safe distances are being maintained.
  • Periodic health checks: Particularly for the period of time right after the quarantine, health standards will have to be strictly enforced on the job site to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Check your employees’ temperature at the door using a fast laser thermometer and look for any abnormalities in temperature – if they fail the check, they need to be sent back home for the day.
  • Secure storage for personal belongings: By providing personal lockers to your on-the-clock workers, you can make sure nobody’s personal belongings come into contact with one another and further reduce the risk of spreading illness.

It may take a little getting used to, but these changes will benefit your warehouse – and your team – in the long run.

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