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How to work and operate safely during COVID-19

Everyone needs to work together to stop the spread of COVID-19. Regardless of what Alert Level you are in, there are key measures that businesses must put in place. These will not only keep your staff, contractors and customers safe from the virus – but also feeling safe. This will also help create a mentally healthy work environment for everyone.

Businesses should:

  • Encourage open communication. Good communication builds trust, and promotes solidarity. It also helps people process information at a time when they may be at a heightened sense of worry. The COVID-19 Workplaces Resource offers suggestions about how to talk with staff, using language that demonstrates care and support for their health and wellbeing.
  • Foster connections even when working remotely. Connection with others is not only a basic human need, it’s crucial at this time when we may be physically distanced from the rest of our team. Make time for virtual team-building activities and bonding sessions that are fun and enjoyable.
  • Maintain a mentally healthy work environment. Wherever you’re working, it’s important that everyone looks after their mental health and wellbeing. Employers should watch out for staff who may be struggling. Workplace leaders can help reduce the risk factors by promoting a supportive environment
  • Be open to flexible working. Having greater flexibility over our working day and workplace can make us more positive about work. Evidence suggests that we are equally or more productive when working flexibly or remotely.
  • Take on board people’s concerns. Staff may have safety concerns about going into work, like being immune compromised or caring for a vulnerable family member. Businesses need to meet their health and safety obligations at all alert levels. This includes managing risk. Talk to your team about whether they can work from home or change their workplace arrangements, like spacing out workstations.
  • Manage any health concerns for you and your staff. If you might be sick with COVID-19 or have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 you should not go into work. Businesses should not allow or ask such employees to work.
  • Follow the latest policy on wearing masks, physical distancing , contract tracing and hygiene measures. See business.govt.nz for up-to-date guidance on workplace activities at different alert levels.

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