Workers are returning to plants, businesses, schools, and more after months of isolation. But workplaces and workflows look different than before. To comply with local and state guidelines, many organizations have enforced strict social distancing protocols. However, maintaining distance while communicating in fast‑paced environments like assembly lines and hospitals. So, what can your business do to minimize the spread of COVID‑19? How can you keep workers safe and connected during a pandemic?
Below, we will dive into specific ways to enhance communications during social distancing. As you read, please remember to check all advice against expert information sources and government orders:
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Your state government's website, such as the Illinois Department of Public Health
- Your local government's website, such as the City of Chicago
Communicating From a Distance
The CDC defines social distancing as “keeping a safe space between yourself and other people who are not from your household.” In many cases, this means limiting face‑to‑face contact, staying 6 feet away from others, and avoiding crowded places.
Previously, we addressed how to modify a dispatch center during COVID‑19. Now let's consider how to promote safety in essential worker communications in all work environments.
- Clearly define your organization's "new normal." This “new normal” could continue for many months, so state expectations clearly and often. Managers and organization leaders should instruct staff to maintain a 6‑ft. distance between one another whenever possible. These expectations should be states verbally and with written signage throughout the workplace.
- Equip your team with new communications tools. Whether you work in a small boutique or a large office complex, two‑way radio can provide instant communication between individuals and teams across your whole facility. Unlike cell phones, two‑way radios have no downtime, fast connections, and strong coverage even in windowless rooms.
- Enable text‑based communications. Despite advances in technology such as hands‑free radios and separate channels, some messages are better conveyed in writing. Limit in‑person conversations by sending out daily email briefings or by having meetings in smaller groups—then emailing the meeting minutes to all relevant parties. Remember that many Motorola Solutions radios also come with a display and keypad. From work ticketing systems to pre‑programmed messages, even radios can streamline text‑based communications.
Keeping Your Communications Equipment Safe
Two‑way radios are an excellent way to boost communications from a safe distance. However, problems can still occur when workers share radios or neglect disinfecting protocols.
Add these cleaning tips to your two-way radio maintenance routine in order to maximize safety.
Mix a 0.5% soap‑water solution.
Wet a clean cloth with the solution, then use the cloth to wipe the device.
Using a stiff, non‑metal, short‑bristled brush, remove loose dirt and debris.
Use a soft, lint‑free cloth to wipe the device until dry.
The Future of Communication
It's impossible to predict if or when this "new normal" will go away. What we do know is that clear, distanced, safe communications protocols will last beyond the pandemic. By equipping your staff with the tools necessary for fast, safe communication today, you will pave the way for an efficient, streamlined workflow tomorrow.