Why Workplace Safety Matters More Than Ever
During a global pandemic, the safest companies will dominate the future of work—and attract the most job-seekers. We've been managing the impact via government restrictions and public health measures. But the way we work has fundamentally changed.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of the world in less than a year. Business as usual is anything but, with companies pivoting continuously to meet everchanging health and safety guidelines.
In Australia, we’ve been able to curb the impact of the virus as we follow government restrictions and public health reminders on the importance of hygiene. But the way we work has fundamentally changed.
Changing Face of Work
Flexible work arrangements which were once the exception are now the rule, with over 4.3 million Australians working from home since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down large parts of the Australian economy, research from Roy Morgan shows.
Even with the dramatic shift, not all jobs can be completed from home, especially not in the industries Pegasus supports with our software. When your job requires you to be physically there in person, workplace safety has come to the forefront.
The safest companies will dominate the future of work—and attract the most job-seekers.
According to the Workforce Institute, “Safety is quickly becoming a powerful recruiting and retention tool. If companies want to remain competitive, they can’t avoid safety measures and must remember that their employees’ safety is at the core of their business”.
Workplace Safety a Priority for Job-Seekers
If employees are required to work on site, in an office, or in a people-facing role, you must prioritise safety measures if you want to attract and retain talent.
Global property technology company, Equiem, conducted a survey in April and May 2020 within their community of 175,000+ occupiers from 9,000+ companies in the US, UK, Ireland and Australia. There were more than 4,500 survey and poll responses.
In unsurprising news, 60 per cent of occupiers won’t return to the office until “it feels safe”.
Critical factors for them to return are information and communication. Upon returning, over 80 per cent of occupiers expect up-to-date information on active in-building COVID cases, new safety procedures (including use of facilities), and cleaning procedures from their landlords or company. Over 60 per cent also expect current office density information to be available.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened this, our want for workplace safety has always been a high priority. In fact, American research from 2017 found “surprisingly, the safety of the work environment was among the top criteria employees consider when evaluating a new job offer”. Similar was found in Canada in 2019 with 94 per cent of workers saying that workplace health, safety and mental wellbeing was an important consideration when looking for work.
Proactively Managing Safety
It is no longer enough to wait for government advice before implementing safety measures. Employees want their workplace to be proactive when it comes to managing their safety.
City FM, one of our facilities management clients, created ‘A step-by-step safe cleaning guide for businesses returning to work’ at the height of the pandemic. In the infographic shared on their social media channels, they provide other businesses with effective ways to manage hygiene at work while showcasing their own efforts.
High-touch areas include, but are not limited to, the following areas:
- Elevator panels
- Door handles & railings (bathrooms, stairwells, meeting rooms, main entrances, etc.)
- Kitchen surfaces (benches, taps, coffee machines and fridge)
- Meeting rooms
- Toilet surfaces
An increase in workplace hygiene has been a welcome by-product of the pandemic. You’d be hard pressed to walk into an office in Australia without being greeted by the smell of disinfectant and hand sanitiser stations at entry points. According to McCrindle Research, ‘The most common actions Australians are taking to stop the spread include washing or sanitising their hands more frequently throughout the day (67 per cent), practicing social distancing (56 per cent) and changing the way they greet people (52 per cent).’
Another of our clients, Lendlease, has articulated the increased focus on health and hygiene in all public places, including the workplace.
To re-establish confidence in a pandemic-aware world, “Creating the Best Places” will require enhanced solutions for health and wellbeing. Healthy workplaces and public realms will need to utilise smart technology, low contact design and thorough management procedures.
Like many businesses this year, Pegasus has pivoted what we provide to ensure we continue to support workforce safety for our clients.
Ways to Leverage Pegasus for Workplace Safety
If you prioritise the health of your employees, there will be two clear benefits: the first is that your workforce will be inherently safer, the second is that you’ll have a recruiting advantage. This is how you can leverage Pegasus for workplace safety.
The Pegasus e-Learning team has created special ‘COVID-19 Inductions’ for our clients to trace who is on site via a digital sign-in. A new module of Analytics in the Pegasus Client Portal gives users visibility into the potential COVID-19 risk on site. You can use this data to ensure social distancing guidelines are adhered to.
COVID-19 Workforce Mapping
One of our clients Visy had to provide a COVID-19 Management Plan to local authorities. Using the comprehensive data found in the Pegasus solution, we were able to create a COVID-19 heat map, showing where workers live and which hotspots they are coming from. The information found in their Client Portal was matched to government data and could be filtered by worker, company, crew, state, and suburb. This allowed Visy to manage risk on site with real-time data to support their organisational response.
Increased Online Learning
Maintaining worker inductions and training tied to safety outcomes is now more important than ever. It may now be a very good time for your business to implement systems to improve worker performance and competency - and ensure you are ready for new challenges. You can leverage Pegasus Induction and Learning Management to assist in workforce training.
Pegasus was recently asked to find a way to help monitor the health of our client's workers amidst the COVID-19 health crisis- and we responded by developing a customised thermal imaging camera. These cameras will test and evaluate worker’s temperatures before entering a site - preventing potentially sick workers from infecting others.
Communicate New Safety Procedures
For your workers to feel safe, clear communication and transparency is crucial. New safety and cleaning procedures can be easily communicated with workers using Broacasting in the Pegasus Client Portal.
Find out how you can leverage Pegasus to increase workplace safety in the age of COVID-19 by visiting Pegasus.net.au or calling 1300 441 433.
October is National Safe Work Month in Australia. This year’s theme, Work Health and Safety through COVID-19, acknowledges and reflects the wide-reaching impacts of COVID-19 on Australian businesses, employers and workers.
Workplaces have had to quickly adapt their practices and procedures to reduce the WHS risks arising from COVID-19 and to manage the psychological effects of the pandemic on workers.