Who knew that PPE (personal protective equipment) would be one of the most sought after items in 2020? Most people had never heard of or used this acronym in a conversation before. But we are used to this. Trained and equipped to keep ourselves safe with safety equipment and when necessary, PPE, throughout our careers is a well-known part of our lingo.
Due to the pandemic of COVID19, policies and procedures have taken the protocols of safety in the workplace to unmatched levels of expectancy and consistency.
Throughout my leadership coaching and mentorship, the underlying core value that guides my practice and my development working with employers and employees has been the integrity and relationships that you bring to your practice.
So while we recognize the importance of staying safe, managing infectious disease and minimizing the transmission of germs, the idea of PPE being a mandated necessity for our entire workday does present some challenges and may be a tough pill to swallow.
“MY EMPLOYEES CANNOT HEAR WHAT I AM SAYING”.
I don’t think the world knew or realized how much the majority of us do rely on some level of lip-reading when we are listening to relevant information. PPE does cause voices to sound more muffled and especially when I am describing the information that is new knowledge to them, so they may not understand. The best way to address this is in the development of written information that can be handed to them before their task and signed off on that they have read it.
“I NEED TO BE STEADFAST IN FOLLOWING THE RULES”
If an employee asks you to remove your PPE to explain something, it is much easier to refer them to a policy they have signed off on that states you will not be removing your PPE for any reason during their interview, orientation or on the job, and that they may not either. The regulations are in place for everyone’s safety. The amount of sharing experiences and reporting to public health about individual situations is crazy, so to avoid that discomfort and risk to you and your business, follow the rules.
“HOW WILL I ENHANCE RELATIONSHIPS?”
Your client relationship is so meaningful to your work! If it is difficult to talk with each other wearing PPE, it will be equally challenging to enjoy the typical comradery that comes from a trusted employee-employer relationship. Foregoing touch, smiling, and conversation positively impacts relationship building. Get creative with your employees! Make an employee sign or greet, be more intentional with blogs, social media and email as platforms to connect, NOT to sell or market your services.
PPE is here to stay so overcoming the challenges with creative solutions will help you and your employees adjust to our new normal. If you need further information or tips on how to do this effectively and safely, reach out.