Back to Work Won’t be Business as Usual.
Get Ready. 

We’re beginning to see signs of a societal return to normalcy. While many businesses (fortunately) have continued to operate during the Covid-19 pandemic—with many people across industries embracing work from home for the first time—operations at many manufacturing and production environments have been minimized or suspended completely. As companies prepare for a full-scale return, science tells us the threat will be with us for some time. The post-Covid workplace may be the “new normal” – at least for the foreseeable future. Here are the top five steps you should take to ensure the safety of your employees while still optimizing your operations.

The post-Covid workplace may be the “new normal” – at least for the foreseeable future.

1Maintain Safe Social Distancing

It’s become a well-known mantra to stay at least six feet apart from others. The same holds true in the workplace. The CDC also outlines other practices such as avoiding congregating in groups and staying out of crowded spaces, which can impact lunchrooms and other workplace gathering spots. In production environments this will likely mean reconfiguring your footprint and adding equipment like benches, chairs, and ESD mats. Additional stations for workers will also require supplemental instruments such as soldering stations and test equipment. In smaller labs or when space to expand is limited, workspace dividers are an excellent, cost-effective way to maintain safe distancing. In production facilities, marking tape and signs are an easy, economical means to guide employees and serve as a constant reminder of physical distance requirements.

2Ensure Necessary PPE and Cleaning Supplies

The importance of personal protective equipment (PPE) can’t be underestimated. While items like shoe covers and safety goggles remain a necessity for many workers, face masks and gloves will become a fact of work-life for all. Ensuring you have enough PPE on hand is the single most important step you can take to ensure a safe workplace.

Items such as hand sanitizers, anti-bacterial cleaners and lotions, IPA, surface cleaners and disinfectants are also critical.  Some companies are taking a more aggressive approach. Amazon, Walmart and Wynn Resort in Las Vegas are among disparate companies choosing thermal imaging technologies to detect temperatures in an effort to protect employees. Thermal imaging camera manufacturers are seeing a dramatic spike in demand.

3Manage Your Inventory Wisely…and Proactively

Your inventory can act as your best ally or worst enemy. First, get an accurate picture of where you stand. Take an inventory of your current stock of electronic production supplies and testing tools and equipment, and order early. It makes sense to stock up knowing that some supply chains have been, and continue to be, affected. And it’s difficult to be sure of future issues. Communication is critical. Work alongside your vendor representatives to ensure you can build reserves to mitigate the effects of temporary shortages. 

If you have a current inventory management or VMI program, reach out to your account manager to review your stock inventory and plan ahead. Take time to add additional SKUs, including PPE or other safety products, so your team is well prepared. If you don’t have a program, now is a good time to consider the benefits of one. Programs can save money through reduced inventory, streamlined management, verified accountability, and losses due to theft.

don’t have a Inventory Management program? now is a good time to consider the benefits of one.

4Institute Rotational and Staggered Shifts

Many companies, particularly those in manufacturing and production, plan to institute staggered shifts to address density. Boeing is restarting production in Washington State, implementing staggered start times for its 27,000 employees. It’s also spreading out workspaces, adding signs and floor markings to remind workers of appropriate physical distance, and requiring face coverings, providing them for those who don’t have their own. Companies are also opting for alternating shifts to limit the number of staff on lab and production floors.

5Work Smarter: Flexible Equipment Acquisition, Upgrades, and More

New challenges raised by the shutdown require smart approaches and focus on equipment. Why not consider leasing or renting? You can extend your budget and expend less capital through flexible acquisition programs. Are you using everything on your production or lab floor? You can trade-in older or under-utilized equipment for cash or credit toward the equipment you need now. It’s also wise to take advantage of manufacturers’ free firmware updates for instant functionality improvements and product upgrades—like faster oscilloscope speed and more memory—and ensure that equipment is properly calibrated.

A safe, efficient and smartly managed workplace is a profitable one. And your employees are key to making it all happen. Whether you plan to stagger shifts, redesign workstations, expand cleaning protocols, reconsider equipment acquisition, or all of these, protect your most valuable assets. You, and your business, will win.

Thoughts, questions about leasing or renting new or refurbished equipment, or just looking for advice? We’d like to hear from you. Contact TestEquity.