Seemingly every day there is some new horrific tragedy shouting from the headlines, and they take place everywhere from elementary schools to movie theatres. In these uncertain times we live in, it can seem difficult to create a sense of security in the workplace. What are some good ways to create a safe work environment for your employees?
Promote a Healthy Workplace
An unclean office is a good place to catch all kinds of sicknesses, so maintain a healthy culture by being a cheerleader for public health. Lead by example by maintaining a clean workspace and regularly sanitizing your office equipment. Keep hand sanitizer next to doorways, provide antibacterial hand soap in restrooms and keep Lysol wipes handy for things like phones and keyboards. Heavily encourage hand washing and remind staff that if they don’t feel good then it’s best for them to stay home — not only to take care of themselves but to prevent illness from spreading to others.
Remember also that part of a clean workplace is keeping unwanted tenants out. Don’t let pests like rodents, bugs like the smokey brown cockroach or termites become an issue; as the owner of the business, it is your responsibility to deal with them. Allowing pests to become a problem is unsanitary and a surefire way for the department of health to give you a nice hefty fine. At the first signs of pests — chewed wood, droppings, nests, etc — call an exterminator immediately.
Finally, regularly clean your office. Cleaning services do a fantastic job getting commercial buildings clean and sanitized for a decent price and it leaves the burden off of you. However, should you choose to clean your own office remember that communal areas (lots of hands) are likely to contain the most germs. Don’t forget places like:
- Doorknobs and light switches
- Staff rooms (refrigerators, sinks/faucets, tables and counters)
- Bathrooms. Enough said.
Enforce Good Habits
Not everyone might maintain the same business safety standards, so be sure that you have a clear set of them when training new employees. Safety should be your number one priority at the workplace. When you ingrain it into your company culture it becomes a natural part of working there.
What are some examples of the daily safety tips you follow without realizing it? Make these part of your guidelines for new staff training:
- Proper communication is essential for teams to convey information to one another, especially if they need to do it quickly and might not be in immediate speaking distance. Providing communication devices like walkie talkies or cell phones can be a great safety measure.
- Have an escape plan and have drills with relative frequency. Make sure that everyone knows what protocols to take in case of an emergency: Who to contact first, where to go and how to deal with clients/customers who might be there at the time of the event.
- Be clear on what the repercussions are for failing to maintain the safety standards you have set. As the founder and owner you are legally responsible for your company, and if your employees put it in danger then you need to know how you want to deal with that. Will you have a three-strike system? A zero-tolerance policy? Decide what kind of action you will take should your employees fail to follow your rules and make sure they understand.
Have Regular Meetings
Building on the idea that communication is essential for healthy teams, remember that this goes beyond the day-to-day communication of pleasantries. Meeting with your team every so often is a great idea, and not only because it’s a legal requirement in most states. There are plenty of great reasons to bring everyone together, some of the best being:
- Individual and team successes are so much better when celebrated as a group. Address the great work everyone has been doing during staff meetings.
- This is a great time to bring everyone up to speed on what’s happening in the workplace since you have the whole crew together and you can say it once and say it properly. What changes are coming, what policies should everyone know about? Has there been an incident worth sharing?
- Address any questions or concerns that the team might have. Is the group collectively dealing with something you’re unaware of? Sometimes it’s easier for the group to speak as a unit instead of a single individual coming to the forefront.
Safety begins with you, and keeping your employees and customers safe is part of your responsibility. Know the best techniques to provide a safe and healthy workplace.