By Debbie Bolla
âThe crisis has taught us to focus on what matters the most,â Mai LanÂ Nguyen, senior vice president of HR for North America at Schneider Electric,Â recently told me during a discussion for our CHRO Q&A podcast series.Â For Nguyen and many others, what matters most to an organization isÂ its people. With that in mind, Nguyen and her HR team created a plan toÂ move Schneider Electricâs 15,000 North American employees to a safe work-from-home environment due to the coronavirus. When we spoke at theÂ end of May, plans were already in place to reopen the workplace to a selectÂ group of individuals who are eligible to return.
âMany passionate people have been putting their brains into designingÂ what would be our return to office,â says Nguyen. âWe are adopting bestÂ approaches on how to bring employees back to the office in a matterÂ that is really focused first and foremost on their health and safety. And itâsÂ not just about returning to the office, but really making sure we imagineÂ whatâs the new future of the workplace, and how we are going to put bothÂ short-term measures to manage that, but also how we understand how weÂ work in the new normal.â
Nguyen shared some of the best practices that Schneider Electric plans toÂ put into place, including:
- capacity of staff will be reduced to 25 percent to ensure proper socialÂ distancing;
- enhanced cleaning procedures of facilities;
- welcome kits for employees with face masks, hand sanitizer, and cleaningÂ wipes;
- required completion of an e-learning program of new procedures;
- a managed flow of one-way traffic; and
- closure of spaces like conference rooms, breakrooms, and wellness centersÂ that canât provide social distancing.
The next few weeks and months will be a critical time for HR andÂ leadership teams. For additional advice and strategies, see our specialÂ section Reopening the Workplace. You can also hearÂ more advice from Nguyen in our podcast library.