Packaged food will be the norm instead of buffet spread; grab and go food options from smart vending machines too will be preferable.
By Karan Totlani
As organizations move towards resuming operations, trying to align themselves better with the reigning pandemic while getting business back on track, the workplace will need to evolve to address the requirements of the day. The primary focus will be on reinforcing trust in the minds of the people as they emerge from confinement to get back to schools and universities, offices, manufacturing locations, healthcare institutions and more. Organizations have to ensure the safety and security of the people entering the workplace and offer them a welcome package to adapt to the new normal of today.
What are the necessary changes?
The pandemic has challenged the status quo in organizations and inspired the management to brainstorm regarding new ways to achieve efficiency. As the people get ready to re-enter their workplaces, organizations have to strategize about increasing productivity while maintaining social distancing guidelines & cleanliness and hygiene recommendations; from the time a person leaves home, uses concierge services to reach the workplace, enters the workplace, utilizes workplace infrastructure for dispensing duties, takes breaks to use the washroom or have meals and finally returns back home.
To begin on a good note, organizations can provide a welcome kit to every person with a few useful things like a mask and hand sanitizer to utilize for their own safety. Facial recognition thermal cameras installed at the entrance and across the workplace to identify and monitor the temperature of every person will be good additions and will inspire confidence.
Secondly, organizations have to climb the ladder to achieve HSE 2.0 compliance at the workplace. Intricate planning has to go into monitoring the workplace environment, as well as the health and safety of every person. Deep cleaning before the workplace reopens, frequent cleaning of washrooms thereafter, duct cleaning to ensure fresh air flow in the HVAC system, contactless services inside washrooms and also in the cafeteria, hygienic food sourcing, preparation and delivery in the on-site kitchen, contactless file movement through robots, etc, have to be ensured.
Thirdly, the workplace infrastructure has to be rearranged or overhauled to ensure social distancing. People need to be seated at the mandated distance from each other, both in the work area and also in the cafeteria. The kitchen staff also needs to maintain this distance while preparing food. Packaged food will be the norm instead of buffet spread; grab and go food options from smart vending machines too will be preferable.
Fourthly, organizations have to consider student/employee/staff wellbeing from a new angle. With stringent social distancing and safety measures in place, there will be staggered attendance; people cannot interact verbally and there can be no casual gathering or show of camaraderie. Therefore, new engagement strategies have to be devised to build rapport among the people, keep them motivated; thereby ensuring their mental and physical wellbeing. As far as productivity and revenue are concerned, organizations will have to rally to regain lost ground due to the lockdown. They have to move towards digital transformation in every sphere of their business, including the workplace. They will also need to rethink and revamp their projects to ensure that the percentage of people who are forced to work from home can also deliver their best.
(The author is Country Segment Director, Corporate Services, Sodexo India. Views expressed are personal.)