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How to safely re-open your business and navigate the new COVID-normal

Headshot of Katie Hanlon

Katie Hanlon

Product Marketing Manager

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8 Nov 2021
5 min read
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As the world begins its ever-changing journey to the new COVID-Normal, businesses within all industries are now faced with the challenge of operating safely, creating processes to manage vaccination policies, communicating critical information in a timely manner, and ensuring compliance with relevant legislation and safety policies.

Balancing so many elements while still ensuring your business continues to thrive is a daunting task. You probably have a lot of questions like:

  • “How do we manage our back to work plan?”

  • “How do we manage our vaccination policy?”

  • “What do we do if one of our employees gets COVID-19?”

  • ”How do we ensure workplace health and safety?”

  • “Where can I find the most accurate and relevant information?”

We understand how stressful it can be, so we’ve put together three key steps to consider as you reopen your business and implement new ways of working.  

Three key steps to manage as you reopen and continue in the new COVID-Normal:

  1. Re-opening your business

  2. Managing new ways of working

  3. Monitoring and reporting

1. Re-opening your business

Communicating and managing your vaccination and return to work policy

One of the first processes you will need to manage as you get back to work is communicating your return to work policy, including your vaccination policy. Every employee needs to be aware of your policy and the information that they need to send you. To communicate this effectively, you should:

5 step process to communicating and managing your vaccination and return to work policy

To ensure you don’t miss a beat when communicating your return to work and vaccination policy, while also capturing key information from employees, you can automate the process. An automated process will make sure the information is communicated and responses are captured without the need for manual intervention, reducing the burden on your staff. It will also ensure your communications are sent out in a timely manner, instilling confidence that your business is operating with your employees’ health and safety as a priority. 

2. Managing new ways of working  

Managing your new health and safety obligations

As your business reopens and you welcome employees back to the office, whether on a permanent or ad hoc basis, you will need to manage your new workplace health and safety obligations in line with the Safe Work Australia Guidelines. WHS laws require you to ensure the safety of your workers, yourself, and any others in the workplace as much as you reasonably can. One key workplace health and safety measure to consider are daily COVID-19 check-in communications with your employees. Asking employees to confirm their COVID-19 health status each day will ensure any positive incidents are captured and the relevant healthy authority is informed immediately so contract tracing can begin. This daily automated check-in could include asking employees: 

  • Do you have any COVID-19 symptoms?

  • Are you awaiting a COVID-19 test result?

  • Have you received a positive COVID-19 test result?

It’s important that you capture answers to these questions in one centralised location and make sure that you have a process to manage COVID-19 positive incidents immediately while also informing all employees of next steps. This will help to keep your workplace as safe as possible and your business up and running.  

Managing visitors

It’s vital to ensure the health and safety of visitors to your business. Visitors need to be informed of your COVID-19 safety policies and made aware of relevant information before they arrive. It’s also important to have an effective process in place so that visitors can easily provide you with documents relating to vaccination status, COVID-19 negative tests, COVID-19 health status, etc. 

Below is an example of how to manage the process of welcoming visitors on site:

5 step process for managing your new health and safety obligations

Managing rapid antigen testing

If your business is in the mining, construction, or transport and logistics sector, you will need to implement a rapid antigen testing process for COVID-19. This process must be in place to ensure all of your employees receive a negative test each day before they can enter the site and get back to work. Most rapid antigen testing processes are manual and time consuming. It is important that you implement a digital, automated process so your employees can bypass extended wait times while remaining safe.

This process could look like:

5 step process to managing rapid antigen testing

Digitising this process so employee ID’s and test results are automatically linked and results are provided quickly ensures time efficiency and compliance with workplace health and safety regulations. In turn, this keeps your employees safe and your business running smoothly.

3. Monitoring and reporting 

As mentioned above, as your business opens up and you continue on the ever changing journey to the new COVID-Normal, you must ensure that you are operating in accordance with all government workplace health and safety guidelines and legislation. Check out the Safe Work Australia Guidelines to find the rules and workplace health and safety duties that apply to your specific business. Below are a few tips for ensuring monitoring and reporting in your business:

  1. Update your risk assessment to include COVID-19 incidents

  2. Create and communicate a business-wide monitoring and reporting checklist

  3. Store information in one centralised location, which is easily downloadable for compliance purposes

  4. Immediately capture COVID-19 positive cases and report to the relevant health authority for contract tracing

  5. Immediately capture possible COVID-19 positive cases, triggering ‘watch and act’ steps

Simplify your COVID-Normal processes with Whispir

At Whispir, not only can we provide you with over 30 ready-to-use COVID-19 templates to ensure you are sending out relevant, rich message communications across SMS, email and web forms, we’ll also work with you to build automated processes that are customised to your business needs. 

Our COVID-19 templates and automated processes act as a checklist to guide you through the necessary steps for compliance, taking the stress out of ensuring your employees are safe so that your business can carry on with what you do best. 

Find out more about our solutions for businesses navigating the COVID-Normal.

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