Health and safety management has evolved immensely in both tangible and non-tangible ways since the height of the pandemic. The many new and adapted practices of our work lives that we’ve learnt over the past few years have now become increasingly normal in our everyday lives. For example, hand washing is now an expectation in public places, and social distancing is still somewhat present in large social environments. Overall health priorities have transformed, but so have the perceptions of the risks when it comes to your personal health and safety, both at work and outside work. That being said, employees have come to expect their employers to show more concern and regard for health and safety. In this article, we’ll address how an employee’s perception of workplace health and safety has changed since the pandemic.
Adapting to New Protocols
The Canadian government along with many other Government bodies throughout the world has recommended that companies should review their employee safety protocols and practices now that we have experienced the pandemic, as they may need to be updated to include COVID-19 prevention. For this reason, there is a push for organizations to practice occupational health and safety against the spread of COVID-19 by adopting proper hygiene and personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements. Reducing risk in community settings can include things like reviewing safety protocols by ensuring that all employees have been trained on how to stay safe while in the workplace. The post-COVID period has been a tumultuous time for many businesses. With that being said, employees have the right to feel like they are safe to go to work and that their organization has taken all the necessary steps to reduce their risk of infection.
Implementing Remote Work
During the height of the pandemic, many organizations rushed to implement remote work settings for those employees that could effectively work from home. Implementing these remote work settings with the help of virtual collaboration tools helped minimize the number of people in an office space or work environment. From May 2020 to December 2021, approximately 36% of North Americans were working from home. Being remote allows employees to work comfortably in their own environment. As employee well-being and retention are important factors for organizations to consider when implementing remote work policies, these types of workforces are known to be more inclusive and productive. That being said, it is reported that upwards of 50 million jobs are capable of being remote, giving organizations the power to make business decisions to improve the well-being of their employees. When employees feel like they have been given the freedom to choose how they want to work, they are more likely to feel engaged in their roles, more satisfied with their jobs, and safer in their own controlled environment.
Hygiene and Safety Management
The symptoms of the pandemic have now become a regular part of everyday life. Above we mentioned how social distancing is still somewhat present, and the population is more aware of the risks of infection and their health priorities. With that being said, sanitization measures have increased and remained prevalent since the height of the pandemic. However, with more employees returning to in-person work since the pandemic has subsided, businesses have begun focusing on improving their overall hygiene culture through employee training programs and incentives. Employers are quickly seeing these programs lead to an increase in employee engagement within their organization. In a survey conducted by McKinsey & Company, it was found that employees who found their employers responsive to their needs were four times as engaged as employees who were dissatisfied with their employers’ approach. All things considered, by responding to employee concerns, the opportunity to build strong employee engagement is present if employers are willing to be proactive with their health and safety culture.
Health and Wellbeing
Companies are urging employees to take control of their own health and well-being. In a survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association (APA), it was found that nearly one in three Americans were so stressed about the pandemic that they struggled to make basic decisions. Most employees are willing to report unsafe or mental health conditions, but many are still reluctant. Organizations must work to give employees a greater voice about their work surroundings by promoting employee engagement. It was reported that 71% of workers believed that their employer is more concerned with their mental health now compared to before the rise of the pandemic. With this information at hand, one can assume that the perception of employers’ workplace health and safety policies is also correlated to organizational culture. As this becomes one of the many factors that people consider when applying for new roles, how mental health is viewed and carried out in the workplace is vital for retention. In other words, if employees feel safe and mentally well at work, they’re more likely to believe the company is a great place to work.
Health and safety guidelines are important to ensure both employee and business growth. As cleanliness is more important than ever before, promoting employee engagement is fundamental to maintaining morale. In order to create a positive culture among team members and improve how they feel about safety at work, considering implementing a digital health, safety and employee relations tool is a great option. As the only integrated all-in-one enterprise health and safety and labour and employee relations software, Sodales’ single unified platform provides a consistent and efficient focus on people. To learn more about Sodales and to get started managing the perception of the workplace health and safety of your workers, request a demo of Sodales today.