Post Covid-19 Travel Protocols
As the Ecuadorian Government begins to ease lockdown measures and travel companies prepare to re-open offices, calls centres and travel agencies, we have taken measures to protect employees and customers from Covid-19.
Prior to re-opening
Before employees enter the premises, our offices will undergo an incredibly thorough cleaning. Once people have returned, a rigorous disinfection schedule will be implemented, ensuring that high-touch surfaces, including the inside and outside of all doors, are wiped with alcohol wipes every few hours.
There will be a considerable amount of disinfecting supplies, antibacterial soap, disposable paper towels and alcohol hand sanitizer present onsite prior to the first day of re-opening. Cleaning protocols and behavioral signage showing proper execution of said protocols will be posted throughout the site with signs, particularly at all building entrances, elevator areas and each floor, department or separate space. Our building administration may also wish to institute temperature-reading devices at all entry points in order to provide additional peace of mind.
Advice to staff
Masks / face coverings will be mandatory during the commute to work in the event that there is close proximity to others, such as use of public transport or car share arrangements. This may or may not be advised by the government, but it can be implemented and enforced by your organisation's Human Resources department.
Our office is ample enough to permit social distancing between our employees and all measures will be taking into account.
Changes to layout
In order to maintain appropriate physical distancing, fundamental changes will be made to the office space and the way in which it is navigated. This means that some chairs should be removed from conference rooms and other common areas. Brightly colored tape will be used on floors to delineate safe zones in the office environment for individuals to stand or sit an appropriate distance from one another. There should be a one-way flow through all entry and exit points as well as the office environment as a whole in order to minimise the chance of people unintentionally bumping into one another.
The number of people allowed to ride together in elevators needs to be restricted in order to comply with social distancing, which in many cases may mean only one person at a time. Coloured tape will also be used in elevators to dictate capacity as well as where people should stand.
Office kitchens and break areas are going to require specific and very clearly outlined rules. Gone are the days of shared food, biscuits and birthday cakes. In general, any eating/food preparation areas will either need strict distancing of diners or will need to be designated as take-out only with employees going out to an appropriate space where they can socially distance. All food and drink available to employees must be single-use and individually wrapped.
There must be a designated area for all deliveries, whether in the form of mail, packages or pallets of supplies. In the case of mail in the office environment, there will need to be two separate areas: one for unpacking potentially contaminated materials with facilities to dispose of the packaging into closed bins, as well as space for people to wash their hands immediately after. The adjoining 'clean' area can then be a distribution point for contents of packaging to the intended recipients. In the case of sensitive/confidential items, the recipient may have to be responsible for this process.
In many ways, EQ touring most important role in this scenario is to provide with confidence in employees that it is safe to return to work. We have all spent weeks in lockdown with the constant message that we must stay home for the greater good of ourselves, our family members and the community at large. The task is now to persuade people that it is safe to come out and start to integrate again. Anxiety around the return to work is going to be understandably high, and the more information people are equipped with, the better off everyone will be. A return to office plan should include a phased timeline for when our essential employees should expect to report to the office - keeping in mind that anyone who can continue to work from home should continue to do so as much as their role will allow.
Staggering the start
Staggered start times will be introduced where business requirements allow, avoiding busy travel times as much as possible. Our staff will be informed of increased cleaning measures and behavioral expectations. An updated floor plan with designated areas for disposal of masks and gloves as well as hand washing stations will be distributed prior to employees' return. A comprehensive outline of all the site measures listed above should be shared with the internal team, as providing the highest possible level of transparency helps to bolster confidence and increase employee morale.
We have also considered a temporary elimination of our conference room and break areas. Pre-site screening mandates and visitor policies must be reviewed and enforced.
What happens if an employee gets Covid-19?
If any of our employees gets COVID-19 we will notify to our local office of Health Department, the office will be closed again until a new disinfection is in place and those employees who were in contact with the infected person will have to do a mandatory quarantine. EQ touring will resume activities once the environment is safe again.
Taking care of mental health
As much as the physical considerations of re-opening are important, so too is the mental wellbeing of our employees coming out of quarantine. Even though the entire world has endured this pandemic, each individual has had their own experience, and in some cases, trauma. EQ will foster an environment of openness and provide resources to those that have general anxieties and legitimate concerns as they return to work.
The Covid-19 pandemic is one of the most remarkable and impactful events in recent history; we hope that clients, strategic partners and providers treat all individuals with respect and patient as we recover from this hit.