At Ecolution Consulting, we have been putting a number of measures in place at our workplace over the past two weeks in order to safeguard our employees, do our bit to #flattenthecurve of Covid-19 outbreaks in South Africa.
From implementing increased, then almost exclusive remote working, to reducing meeting numbers and opting for online meetings wherever possible, to increasing cleaning and sanitizing measures at the office, to implementing distancing protocol for anyone in the office.
Now we have been planning for the 21 day lock down and have some tips for a more efficient and compassionate transition into lockdown. These tips, if collectively put in place, will ensure a more fair lockdown for people, as well as reduce pollution and chance of load shedding.
Make sure your employees are well looked after and equipped
By utilising tools such as Zoom, Microsoft teams, Google Hangouts or Skype video-conferencing, we will continue to do the work that we can during the lockdown period from our respective homes. We have ensured that our employees are equipped with their ergonomic and productivity optimised desk set up at home, along with sufficient data for internet access.
We are also implementing regular check-ins and video team meetings, prioritising morale boosting efforts and activities and ensuring a compassionate touch is always prioritized.
We have a number of plants in the office which we have sent home with our team to maintain and brighten their day.
If you are not able to continue with work through this period, we implore you to offer your employees paid leave. If you need to apply for assistance, small businesses can apply for assistance through the corona debt relief fund. Payment of employees should include any part time cleaning staff.
Consider offering financial support for covid-19 testing if the need arises
We have made a commitment to our employees to cover the costs of their covid-19 tests should they become ill and need to get tested. If you are able to offer your employees additional support through this time, it can make the world of difference. We should always aim to put people first. No business will be truly successful without well looked after employees.
Implement these energy saving measures
- Switch off hot water generation and circulation systems.
- Relax conditioning set points for spaces where equipment or goods could get damaged and switch off general air conditioning system where possible.
- Empty fridges and cold rooms: empty and switch off where possible otherwise remove goods that might spoil and close them firmly.
- Switch off IT equipment wherever possible: Take advice from the IT specialists but switch off all equipment that is not related to vital servers and needed for remote access to provide continuity to a now remote workforce.
- Switch off all non essential plug loads at the outlet including drink coolers, microwaves, printers, hot water urns (hydroboils), screens, PCs, radios etc.
- Switch off all lighting, including display and signage lighting, besides critical safety, security or emergency lighting.
Implement these water saving measures
- Turn off the mains water and/or supply to each toilet (prevents leaks)
- Shut off taps: If nothing in your building requires automatic topup, consider switching off the building or unit’s main water feed so that potential existing or new leaks don’t continue to waste water unchecked.
- Turn down water features/ponds/ aquariums to a minimum to ensure survival of plants and creatures while switching off aesthetic functionality to minimise energy consumption and water evaporation.
Clean and prep
- Deep clean and remove perishables to avoid attracting bugs or vermin
- Safely stow away flammable items
- Take the rubbish out
- Draw curtains / blinds to reduce visible access and limit unwanted heat load on the space
- Redirect incoming calls and update your automated answering machine
- Consider measuring your consumption during lockdown to identify “phantom power” and “water leaks”