How Industries Can Better Support Workers in a Post-Covid World
We are not yet in a post-covid world. We will get there. But it will take some time. Things are moving in the right direction. Deaths and hospitalizations are starting to decline. But new variants are more contagious than the original. One vaccine company had to stop trials in South Africa because it was not effective against that strain of the virus. The vaccines we do have are slowly finding their way into arms. However, in the U.S., that process is chaotic.
There are too few shots available and without a scale up methodology, too many people in need without a national plan to make it all work better.
Many companies are closed with no clear path to reopening. The good news is that the pandemic has accelerated to support business and industry. The bad news is that the support will not necessarily trickle down to the level of the individual employee. To help employees, businesses must survive. For many, that is not a certain proposition. Beyond survival, here are a few important ways industries can better support their workers:
Better Safety Equipment
Post-Covid, protective gear means more than a face mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer. One of the leading causes of injury in the industrial sector is a strain from lifting and carrying heavy objects. When maneuvering heavy objects, drops often occur that can lead to even more injury.
One way to eliminate that risk is to provide an exoskeleton suit for those who are doing the heavy lifting in your company. Lifting belts and technique only get you so far. The human body was not made for a lot of heavy, repetitive lift and carry maneuvers. Just consider how few people there are capable of doing it for a living in an industrial setting.
A powered exoskeleton suit is designed to work with the human body and augment the human operator’s strength and endurance. It does not replace workers. It enhances and protects them. The industry benefits from higher efficiency with fewer accidents. Moreover, there is also the benefit of a happier, healthier workforce that experiences far less downtime. Covid is not going to be around forever. When you welcome your employees back to the campus, be sure to offer maximum protection where they need it the most.
Flexible Work Options
We didn’t need a survey to tell us that working from home isn’t for everyone. Some people really are better off making the daily commute to an office and being supervised by an on-prem manager. There are also benefits like having a dedicated workspace and a proper desk chair. We also know that there are many businesses not so good at providing the best working conditions.
The key is not to offer one or the other, but to offer flexible work conditions so that the employee can choose the one most conducive to the way they work.
The experiment is over and the numbers have been run. Letting employees work from home will not destroy productivity, impede security, or harm the bottom line. In fact, companies save quite a bit of money by reducing a lot of unnecessary and expensive office space. Find ways to let your employees work the way they work best.
Let Workers Use Their Own Devices When Possible
Sometimes, a company task has to be done on a company device. But those times are far fewer than you might have previously thought. Again, we have done the experiment and the results are in. Since people have been working from home, they have also been using their own devices for that work. The company is still intact. We have figured out how to do it securely.
Among the benefits of allowing workers to use their own devices when possible is they already know how to use them. The need for training and support will plummet. If they make use of accessibility tools, they already have the tools set up on their own devices. They know how to use and support those tools themselves. When employees get to use the devices of their choice, the result is win/win for everyone.
There will always be tension between company and worker. But much of that tension can be eliminated when workers are better supported in terms of safety, work flexibility, and the ability to use the devices they know best.