New Safety Guidelines as Staff Return to the Office
As Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba cautiously begin to re-open, Avenue Living, real estate owner and operator, is preparing to welcome staff back to offices across the Prairies.
The company’s diligence providing clean and safe environments during the pandemic for 20,000 residents has already set the tone, while emphasis on health and safety has become a key factor in recent business success, despite the turbulent economic times.
“It’s very important that our health and safety component is properly organized, seamless and regulated, so we can focus on system implementation,” said Yele Odofin-Belo, Director, Occupational Health and Safety for Avenue Living.
“Stability and consistency is fundamental to every business. They are table stakes in any organization. When any safety-related issues arise, it draws attention away from the main focus of the business – customer service and operational excellence.”
Now, with employees returning to the office after weeks of working from home, Avenue Living is taking the same approach in greeting them back into a safe, clean, comfortable environment.
“Every measure you take to protect yourself protects everyone else too,” said Odofin-Belo. “Our Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Committee is tasked with ensuring that social distancing rules and regulations are abided by. Our OH&S team does continuous walk-throughs to ensure compliance across the entire organization – something we take very seriously at Avenue Living” said Odofin-Belo.
A collaborative effort on everyone’s part to take responsibility for daily safety is vital. With that in mind, in addition to enhancing its cleaning measures for key touch points such as doors, elevators, and washrooms, and providing necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies, Avenue Living has implemented the following health and safety guidelines:
- COVID-Friendly Work and Common Spaces: Reconfigured areas to maintain appropriate distance between co-workers. Physical distancing (i.e. maintaining a two-metre distance) is essential and will be effective in reducing transmission of COVID-19. This applies to all common and high traffic areas. Signs and posters have been placed at the entrance of all meeting rooms to specify the new sitting arrangements if and when in-person meetings must occur.
- Hygiene Best Practices: Placed signs across both floors of office space to inform and encourage staff to avoid touching face, in addition to practicing frequent and thorough hand hygiene (i.e. washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, and/or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer and waiting 10 seconds).
- E-Meetings Encouraged: Limited participation with regards to in-person gatherings, while promoting and encouraging alternative means of communication, such as video ‘teams’ calls.
“Day one’s return back to the office was very encouraging,” said Odofin-Belo. “We are pleased to offer a phased return to work program. Having said this, we continue to provide work from home options for those that are high-risk or have family members that are high-risk. Each leader has personally connected with their team member(s) to ensure they feel safe to return to work, answering any questions or concerns, in addition to discussing workspace office modifications.”
“An effective risk mitigation measure is one that is fact-based, dynamic and factors a pluralistic spectrum of opinions to ensure continuous improvement. The safety and wellbeing of our employees is of upmost importance to us. Only when our Avenue Family is safe and secure, are we able to maintain operational productivity and efficiency in the workplace,” added Odofin-Belo.