Work Environments

Living in a world where COVID-19 is present in our community means that many Town services must be accessed and delivered in new and different ways. As we continue to prioritize the health and safety of residents and employees, once our facilities reopen and programs restart, things will look a little different. Many services will be offered virtually to maintain physical distancing where possible.

In prioritizing the health and safety of residents and employees, we’re focused on the following six areas:

CLEANING

  • We’re doing extra cleaning and disinfecting in all our facilities, office spaces and other work environments.

PHYSICAL DISTANCING

  • We’re ensuring employees and residents can maintain two metres of physical distance from others, often by allowing employees to work from home.
  • We’re using signage, floor stickers and arrows to direct the flow of traffic.
  • We’re offering more opportunities to interact and access services virtually.

STOP THE SPREAD

  • We’re encouraging employees and residents to practice good hand hygiene by washing hands and using hand sanitizer, and cough or sneeze into their sleeves.
  • We’re discouraging employees from sharing desks, chairs, phones, keyboards or other equipment.

HEALTH SCREENING

  • We’re conducting passive health screening of all employees and visitors to municipal facilities.

PPE

  • In places or situations where physical distancing can’t be maintained, we’re providing the appropriate personal protective equipment for employees.

COMMUNICATION

  • We’re providing residents and staff with regular updates and information about the COVID-19 situation in Whitchurch-Stouffville.
  • We’re posting information about physical distancing, good hand hygiene and health screening.

Tips to Protect the Mental Health of Your Employees

  1. Inform your employees about any upcoming changes as much as possible – When people are informed of what changes are coming and how things are being addressed, they are better able to cope with the change.

  2. Ask employees what their needs are during this time – When you involve your employees in assessing their work needs during this time, it will provide them with some level of control over the situation.

  3. Acknowledge the many emotions that your employees are experiencing – It is important to recognize that it is very normal for people to experience anxiety and many different emotions at this time. It is important to validate these emotions and to let your employees know they are not alone.

  4. Ensure that there are social supports available for your employees – Physical distancing does not mean social isolation.  Have existing health and safety groups support mental well-being by reaching out and connecting with other employees virtually.

  5. Promote positive ways to cope through this challenge – Share positive coping strategies with your employees to protect their mental health.

  6. Remind employees that we are all in this together – The reality is that we are all making changes and sacrifices right now in order to keep one another safe.

  7. Connect your employees to mental health supports Remind employees that it is ok to not be ok. Share information on existing EAP or EFAP programs that your workplace provides.

Adapted from Managing through COVID-19 How to Support Your Employee’s Mental Health – An Employer’s Guide

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