A greater focus on health among all businesses

Your business is now a health business

Pre Covid-19, health had secured a position on the business agenda. Robust employee health benefits were important in attracting talent. Responsible businesses took health and safety seriously, and wellbeing programs were welcomed. Over the past few weeks, the role of health in business has accelerated beyond these efforts and programs, to potentially life-saving initiatives. Now every business is a health business. Organizations of all sizes are revealing their roadmaps to safety as they regroup and re-emerge, driven by the critical need to protect employees, customers and suppliers. Health is no longer part of the agenda – it’s driving the agenda.

Businesses are instrumental in combating the threat that Covid-19 presents – your business included. Whether you are making changes to protect and educate your employees, taking steps to secure your customers’ safety or pivoting your business to support healthcare providers, health is the single key priority of every business.

Health first

People-first companies have shifted to health-first companies. FedEx quickly adopted its ‘Safety above all’ message and highlighted how it has prioritized the health of its workers, customers and suppliers. Here at Pitney Bowes, we swiftly made changes to our facilities to protect our employees and remain operational to our clients.

Health now underpins every decision, for every business. These decisions must be sustainable, long term. Without a continued laser-focus on health, businesses will struggle to stay operational.

As a business owner, you’re likely to be considering the changes you need to make to rebuild your company. Businesses just like yours are going through exactly the same planning process. If you’re not sure what steps to take to ensure health is at the center of your organization, here are the methods some organizations are adopting which could work for you:

Adapting premises: social distancing measures are likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future. Businesses are marking spaces on floors to indicate safe distances in checkout queues and on production lines; highlighting ‘one way’ systems for clients around a store or warehouse to avoid interacting with each other; installing screens or barriers between employees; looking at contactless alternatives to touchscreen security points; and adding extra hygiene stations with additional handwashing facilities. Break out areas, meeting rooms and kitchen facilities also need to be considered, with some companies choosing to limit seating areas. Businesses are also considering how their employees travel to work, and whether additional parking facilities or areas for bikes need to be incorporated. Find more recommendations here.

Changing behaviors: limiting the spread of infection requires minimizing groups gathering at single points – entrances and exits, for example - so some organizations are staggering start and end times for employees. Face-to-face meetings must adhere to strict social distancing requirements, or switch to virtual meetings, and face-to-face visitor meetings may be minimized. Elevator use could be restricted with lower maximum occupancy, and employees discouraged from using high-traffic areas at the same time. The wearing of face coverings is already being adopted by some companies.

Educating employees: communicating with, and educating, employees on new policies, processes and procedures is critical to limiting the spread of the virus. It also allows employees to base decision on facts rather than rumors. Businesses should frequently communicate revised policies and procedures for business travel, expectations around hygiene and quarantine and remote working, as well as providing sources for updated information such as the World Health Organization’s website.

Supporting health organizations: some businesses are pivoting to support critical health needs within the wider community, while others are offering advice or making donations. For example, Jenna Marie’s deli in Stamford, CT is now delivering to local hospitals, supporting frontline healthcare workers - read more here. Khloé Kardashian and Emma Grede’s inclusive clothing brand, Good American, donated $1m worth of denim to healthcare workers and Pitney Bowes is facilitating their shipments, by picking, packing and shipping the clothing.

An obsession with health, safety and ownership of virus prevention must become the new norm for businesses. The responsibility for limiting the spread of Covid-19 lies with us all.

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