What is a COVID-Safe Workplace?
Kineo Courses Production Manager
For many of us, our lives are starting to return to something similar to ‘normal’. But, let’s be clear, this is a ‘new normal’. The workplace is not the same as it was before the COVID pandemic began.
The New Normal
The fortunate among us have spent months working from home. Many of us have enjoyed the benefits of this. No commute, more time with family (and pets), close access to our kitchens (ok maybe not always a great thing) and ugg boots as a part of our new business dress.
The less fortunate have had to deal with reduced working hours; possibly even a period of no work. For these people, returning to work is a much‑needed step back into society and a chance to rebuild our lives.
For both groups, benefits await us. Not least of all, the social aspect of work and all this brings to our mental and emotional well-being.
The ‘new normal’ is different in many ways from the ‘old normal’. Say goodbye to crowded entrance ways, shared biscuit tins and sitting in close proximity to co-workers. Of course, the changes vary, are industry specific and depend on location. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. That said, there are commonalities to expect in each of our COVID Safety Plans.
A COVID-19 Safety Plan
Expect your workplace’s COVID-19 Safety Plan to include the following.
- New entrance protocols – especially for visitors.
- Changes in what’s available in the kitchen.
- Lots more cleanliness.
- Being further away from co-workers than before.
- Off-limits rooms; especially smaller meeting rooms.
Risk management, health and safety, and other long-standing processes have not changed. It’s just that they are now being applied in a new way. Be confident that you aren’t returning to a new workplace, just a modified one. The duty of care that you and others had before COVID has not changed. It’s being applied in a new context.
How Confident Are You?
How confident are you that you know how to behave in a COVID-Safe way? The best way to reassure yourself is to ask questions. Your workplace will have a plan and you are a part of it. There are heaps of resources available; such as Safe Work Australia’s website, which breaks down requirements industry by industry. Your state government has specific rulings for your location, based on the best public health advice available. There are also lots of supports and educational products that have been developed, like Kineo’s COVID-Safe Workplace course. Whatever your needs and requirements, your first stop should be your HR or Health and Safety representatives. And remember, if you don’t feel safe - speak up! A COVID-Safe Workplace begins with you.