As essential workers across the country continue performing their jobs each day, they must maintain strict social distancing protocols. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends workplaces keep desks and chairs 6 feet apart and avoid employees from facing each other. Of course, keeping your distance while communicating in fast‑paced environments such as assembly lines, healthcare facilities, and schools isn’t easy. That’s where technology like two‑way radios, loudspeakers, and text‑based communication comes in.
But how can you maximize the safety and efficacy of your essential worker two‑way radios? Below, we consider how accessories can bolster your technology to help keep workers
- Connected from afar
- Safe in their environments and
- Productive even during a pandemic
Note: As you read about the essential worker radio accessories below, please remember that expert advice evolves rapidly in a crisis. Check all recommendations against medical sources and current mandates from local authorities:
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- State government websites, such as the Illinois Department of Public Health
- Local government websites, such as the City of Chicago
How Two‑Way Radios Can Help Essential Workers
Consider this situation: Your business has implemented drive‑thru pickup. One essential worker stands outside on the curb, handing packages to drive‑up customers. Another stands inside the doorway dispatching customer orders to an essential worker inside the store to relay the information to a team of workers scurrying to pluck items from the shelves.
In this scenario, your business has organized a relatively efficient makeshift system. Your company continues selling goods. Your customers get what they need.
But what happens when masks muffle voices? Do your essential workers breach social distancing protocols to ensure that the correct products are packaged for the customer? Or do they shout, increasing the risk of projecting viral particles?
This is a common situation, one we have seen replayed over and over at stores, restaurants, and manufacturing facilities in our area. When your staff is spread out, communication devices—whether two‑way radios or cell phones—makes it easier for them to work quietly and effectively.
Depending on your facility's location, cell phone coverage might be enough. In other instances, two‑way radios are ideal because there are no dead zones, and services are uninterrupted if cell towers go down. Hands‑free accessories also allow workers to communicate while performing simple tasks.
Maximizing radio capacity with accessories
From headsets and mobile microphones to antennas and mobile speakers, there are plenty of add‑on products for two‑way radios. When your focus is on safety and productivity for your essential workers, we recommend starting with the following three accessories.
As basic as it sounds, chargers are a critical tool in your essential workers’ arsenal. Without enough chargers to keep radio batteries at full capacity, communication could break down across the entire organization or agency.
If your staff size is smaller at this time, focus on rapid‑rate chargers rather than chargers with the most unit slots.
Extra Radio Batteries
In the same vein as chargers, extra radio batteries ensure that your essential workers can quickly and easily get back on the line when a radio battery dies. It is a good idea to have a set of extra radio batteries and a charger in whatever space acts as your essential workers’ command central—anywhere from the line supervisor’s office to the central breakroom.
Note that if your essential workers are reaching for extra radio batteries regularly, it might be time to check your batteries’ expiration dates.
Earpieces are one of the most common essential radio accessories. They keep communication nearly hands‑free, which is vital for both productivity and avoiding cross‑contamination of surfaces. Earpieces make it easier to get the job done in noisy work environments. Essential workers get crystal‑clear communication at the push of the button. Workers can also wear earpieces either in or outside the ear for comfort—an essential feature for long shifts.
Keeping Your Radio Accessories Safe
Two‑way radio accessories can help essential workers communicate effectively from a distance. However, it is still essential to clean and disinfect accessories between shifts.
Instruct essential workers to follow these disinfecting tips as a regular part of their two‑way radio maintenance routines.
Wipe down accessories and devices with over‑the‑counter isopropyl alcohol with at least 70% alcohol concentration.
Never apply alcohol directly to the device. Dampen a cloth with alcohol, then use the material to wipe down accessories.
Never use bleach, solvents, or cleaning sprays to disinfect your two‑way radio accessories. These can degrade plastic and metal platings.
Make sure accessories are thoroughly dry before using.
By equipping your essential workers with sturdy, reliable communication equipment and accessories, you can boost productivity while maintaining a safe work environment.