Community sector organisations across Australia are starting to transition back to face to face services but this does not mean business as usual. We are still experiencing a pandemic and the safety and wellbeing of employees and clients must be the top priority for managers and team leaders.
Of course, just because you can re-open your workplace or resume face to face contact does not mean that you must. If you have employees who are high risk or still juggling alternative childcare you may wish to stagger or delay the transition. Adopting a compassionate approach to management is likely to yield the best results under the circumstances.
The following resources will help you get your workplace ready. Remember to consult with workers and actively involve them in this process.
COVID-19 safety planning
Visit your state or territory government website for its official COVID-19 safety plan information and protocols.
TasCOSS also has excellent resources which can be used countrywide. The COVID-19 Safety Planning Series consists of two webinars which cover safety planning for community sector organisations as well as managing workplace change. These are supplemented by how-to guides.
Our Community also has an extensive guide for NFPs which takes you through key considerations and requirements.
Physical safety in the workplace
The Department of Health has a video on personal protective equipment (PPE) aimed at those in frontline care.
Staff mental and emotional wellbeing
Restrictions may be easing but the emotional impact of the pandemic is still a reality. Beyond Blue has advice managers can share with staff about looking after themselves during the transition back to work and This Way Up has a printable booklet.
Posters are a quick way of informing service users know about changes to operations, the safety protocols in place and what you expect of people entering your building. Safe Work Australia and the Department of Health have templates that are free to download.
Before transitioning back to pre-pandemic services, it is also worth evaluating changes that were made to service delivery during lockdown. Without downplaying the damage of COVID-19, an upside is that it pushed many organisations to get creative in ways that may have been met with hesitation or resistance before.
ARACY has a resource on the principles of rapid innovation and evaluation and AIFS has advice on assessing rapid service changes. These will help you identify any adjustments that have improved satisfaction or outcomes for your clients (or a specific cohort) and help you embrace innovation to your operation.