Preparing Warehouse Workers for the Second Wave of COVID-19

Despite the beginning of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, the United States is still in the midst of a deadly and financially devastating second Coronavirus wave. The prospect of another year spent rearranging professional and personal lives around this disease is understandably exhausting to think about, but protecting your warehouse workers and business is not an unmanageable task.

There are several steps you can take as a warehouse manager to prepare your workforce for the second wave of COVID-19, some of which you may have already implemented to some degree. By following through on these tips, you should be able to minimize the impact that the novel Coronavirus has on your business and protect your employees from this disease.

Establish and Enforce Sanitation Rules

By now, everyone is familiar with the basics of COVID-19 prevention (i.e., wearing masks, washing hands, and social distancing). However, during this second wave of infections in the United States, it is more crucial than ever for employees and employers alike to follow safety rules and regulations to fight the spread of this virus in their workplace.

Warehouse managers should ensure that every employee has access to handwashing stations, that they have plenty of soap and hand sanitizer in stock, and that mask requirements are strictly enforced at all times for on-shift workers. Additionally, any surface that multiple workers touch during a given workday should be sanitized regularly, as should any equipment shared between workers, like pallet jacks.

Regulate Access to Work Areas

Part of social distancing during the workday includes making sure that the warehouse floor is arranged to facilitate distanced working. Depending on how an individual warehouse usually operates, it may be a good idea to designate separate entrances and exits for workers on different shifts, stagger shift and break start times, switch to digital time tracking rather than a centralized time clock, and separate individual workstations with plexiglass screens.

Be Compassionate about Your Workers’ Needs

Above all, the most important thing warehouse managers can do to prepare their workers for the second Coronavirus wave is empathize with them about how hard it can be to adapt to these new rules and the pandemic as a whole. On top of their own safety and productivity at work, your employees are also probably worried about the safety of their family members and loved ones.

Providing your workers with the resources and support they need to preserve their mental and physical health may be the single most important thing you can do to get them ready for the weeks and months ahead. In uncertain times like these, just knowing what to expect from work and their supervisors can have an immensely positive impact on the morale of a warehouse workforce.

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