Can online group facilitation ease your employees return to work?
There is no question that covid-19 has impacted employers across Ontario, across Canada, and across the world. As governments lift restrictions on who can be at work and workplaces begin to reopen, it is natural for employees to feel concerned about their personal safety. An online group facilitation can allow your employees the opportunity to feel heard and have input into their safe return to work.
Why is it important employees feel safe when discussing returning to work?
It seems obvious to say that employees who are under threat or feel unsafe are not as productive as they could be. Employees experiencing such stressors overstimulate their sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system evolved to deal with immediate threats in nature. However, the sympathetic nervous system is not a friend of rational thinking. The ability to debate a sabertooth tiger offered no survival advantage and all of the people who dealt with fear through slow rationality thought got eaten. Online discussions allow your employees to participate from the safety of their home. Where they can rationally consider the safety measures being discussed.
What are the return to work issues beyond safety?
Who gets to return to work and who gets to work from home is a significant source of workplace discord. Some employees have trouble working at home due to distractions, lack of air conditioning or unreliable internet. Others may want to be home to address childcare. Being curious about how your employees’ preferences fit with your business objectives can save you time, money, and headache down the road.
How can online group facilitation help?
Online group facilitation can help you ease your employees’ return to work by giving employees a forum to discuss their concerns and allowing you a way to consider their input and respond immediately. If necessary, additional group sessions or one to one sessions can be scheduled.
How does it work?
We set up an online meeting that your employees can attend via internet or phone. Online participants will be able to ask questions by voice or text and you will be able to engage to provide them the answers they seek. Employees can be placed in smaller groups to discuss departmental issues.
Prior to the online group facilitation, Dave will work with you and your leadership team to get you ready for the call.
Why should I choose Wakely Mediation to facilitate my return to work discussion?
Dave Wakely is a Chartered Mediator and Paramedic who has facilitated multiple online group discussions on the safety implications of covid-19 for healthcare workers. With over a dozen such facilitations Dave has led discussions of over 140 participants. His background as a Paramedic serving on the Command Group of the Emergency Operations Centre of the second largest paramedic service in Ontario provided him with experience quickly implementing best practices for Covid 19 workplace safety.
During the online group facilitation you will hear your workers concerns and work together to develop answers to these questions from the Government of Ontario’s Covid 19 Safety Plan Template:
- How will you ensure all workers know how and are able to keep themselves safe from exposure to COVID-19?
- How will you screen for COVID-19?
- How will you control the risk of transmission in your workplace?
- What will you do if there is a potential case, or suspected exposure to, COVID-19 at your workplace?
- How will you manage any new risks caused by changes to the way you operate your business?
- How will you make sure your plan is working?
What are the best practices for safe return to work?
To minimize the risk of passing on novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) at work, employers should:
- screen workers
- support people with symptoms to self-isolate
- ensure people maintain a physical distance of 2 metres or more
- consider the use of PPE if physical distance cannot be maintained through more effective controls
- disinfect surfaces and objects
- encourage hand washing and use of alcohol based hand sanitizer
- remind workers about good cough and sneeze etiquette and to avoid touching their face
- work with the local public health unit if any workers have COVID-19 or are exposed to someone with COVID-19
What are the best health and safety controls to implement?
- Engineering controls
- Administrative controls
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Can the number of people in the workplace be decreased? Can workers continue to work from home?
Unfortunately we can’t substitute Covid for another disease
Can barriers be installed between the workers or between the workers and customers?Have you installed hand sanitizer in easily accessible places?
Have you made policies about people being in close proximity? Are there lines on the floor to remind them?
Would masks or face shields be an appropriate measure?
Where can I find more resources on safe return to operations?
In Ontario, the government has published multiple guides and resources for employers.
- Covid Guidance for the construction sector
- Covid Guidance for the manufacturing sector
- Covid Guidance for the restaurant and food services sector
- Covid Guidance for the food processing sector
- Covid Guidance for the healthcare sector
- Covid tip sheet for the retail sector
How else can you help?
In addition to working with you to prepare you for the online group facilitation, Wakely Mediation offers online mediations via zoom to help with everyday and Covid 19 related workplace issues. Please contact us for more information about online mediation and online group facilitations.