Governments are deploying vaccines as quickly as they can manage, and more vaccines are coming online.  There may, at last, be some light at the end of the COVID 19 tunnel.  But the world will never be the same, and experts warn of future pandemics to come.  What policies can your business have in place to protect staff (and the company itself) not only from COVID mutations but from the next pandemic?  

Flexibility

The more flexible your business is, the better you can adapt to a changing situation.  Companies that already allowed employees to work from home had an advantage at the beginning of lockdown.  Businesses that continue the policy will have an advantage in the next crisis.  Explore ways you can be flexible about how your staff works.  Allowing your team to continue working from home, at least some of the time, and having flexible schedule options are ways you can prepare for the next time a pandemic or other crisis starts.  You should also consider contingency plans, and sometimes practice them.  On warm days, why not meet outside?  Why not try the walk-and-talk method for one-on-one meetings?  You will be better prepared and reap a health benefit.  

Infrastructure

In a pandemic world, excellent ventilation is an investment in the future.

Many kinds of work can’t be done from home, and even in a mostly remote workplace, chances are people have to come into the building sometime.  Make sure to have all the protective hardware, such as plexiglass shields, that you might need available, if not in use, then in storage.  It might be challenging to find items like this in the early stages of a new pandemic, so think twice before throwing out protective equipment that might be needed again.  

Also, make sure that the ventilation in your building is the best it can be.  Have policies in place to change high-quality filters frequently.  Contract with a company like Deduct to provide professional duct cleaning.  

Help Staff Help Each Other

A strong team ethos can go a long way toward protecting your employees and your business.  Encouraging a culture of looking out for one another has benefits in the best of times, and can pay huge dividends in hard times.  When it is safe to do so, behaviour like buying one another lunch or bringing in cookies for everyone should be encouraged.  Even once life has returned to something more normal, mask-wearing should be continued as a policy whenever someone has a cold, to protect others.  Be aware, though, that team-building, especially online, has pitfalls.  

Help Staff Help Themselves

Be a part of finding solutions for your staff to keep themselves safe, personally.  Offer to pay the tip if everyone in the office can make one single GrubHub order for lunch.  Allow employees to use company computers to complete a grocery shopping order for pick up or delivery, instead of going to the store or trying to order from a phone screen.  If you are rarely using your offices during a lock-down, and there is another shortage, share out your supply of office toilet rolls.  

The more flexible and creative you can be about solving individual and team problems, the safer everyone will be.  Your staff will be eager to cooperate with safety measures and helping one another out when you have shown you genuinely have their best interests at heart.