As a topic, concern for health and safety in the workplace hasn’t left the limelight since the pandemic began, and isn’t likely to do so anytime soon. While some small business owners may (understandably) lament the complexity of adaptations needed in business operations today, savvy entrepreneurs will see good workplace health as an opportunity for good business health. Here’s how implementing safety and wellness policies now can make for a better work culture in the future.
Healthy Workplace Tips
Rather than getting bogged down in the politics of pandemic-related health precautions, think of the following strategies in terms of meeting legal requirements and providing general workplace health, hygiene, and safety. You can even present them to your employees as such.
- Familiarize yourself with employee rights and employer responsibilities. Doing so shouldn’t be solely a reaction to the pandemic, but a best business practice in general. Use federal and state laws as parameters within which you can create safety protocols tailored to your business.
- Implement safety measures related to the pandemic, general illness, and workplace injury. Even if you don't require your employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s important, at a minimum, to follow state and federal guidelines regarding masking and social distancing. Particularly during the cold and flu season, if possible within your space, minimize contact between employees and customers for a generally healthy workplace. Don’t forget to implement standard injury prevention protocols as well.
- Keep two-way communication open. Even if you’ve thoughtfully implemented protocols to prevent illness or injury, it’s important that your employees feel comfortable pointing out further hazards they encounter (and communicating with you in general). Otherwise, you may not know there’s a problem until someone gets sick or injured, or quits.
- Make sure that all employees adhere to safety protocols. First, be sure that all employees understand the pandemic-related precautions and other protective measures and are able to follow them. Then, make sure there are no exceptions to the rules—including yourself.
- Remember that mental health is health, too. The pandemic has taken a significant toll on employee mental wellness. Educate your employees on mental wellness and provide them with meaningful resources for coping with stress, such as flexible hours. Don’t underestimate the value of general kindness, sensitivity, and an open ear.
Help Your Business Get Healthy With a Business Accelerator Program
Enrolling in a business accelerator program and working one-on-one with a business coach is an excellent way to get guidance on keeping your workplace healthy during the pandemic and beyond. If you’re a growth-minded small business in the Northwest Chicagoland area, consider applying for admission to an accelerator program with Next Level Northwest.
Next Level Northwest is a business acceleration public-private partnership serving the Northwest Chicagoland region. We support regional and local businesses through collaborative and innovative initiatives to help grow the economy. Download our Program Overview PDF here.
Ready to take your business success to the next level and become a Next Level Northwest graduate? Download and prepare your application following this process today!