construction-drone

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Nearly half of the United Statesmay have eased its stay-at-home mandates in recent weeks, but steepchallenges still remain for manufacturing and distribution centers,noted commercial real estate services provider Cushman &Wakefield.

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The contagious coronavirus placesa new emphasis on social distancing in warehouse environmentsoriginally designed for employees to work in close proximity.However, processes can be adjusted and suggestions were compiled from variouslogistics, industrial and production experts and specialists,according to Cushman & Wakefield.

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From encouraging remote workingto readjusting work breaks and shift changes, Cushman &Wakefield outlined six recommendations for creating socialdistancing measures and adjusting to the "new normal" inwarehouses.

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New measures shouldn't begin asthe employees return, Cushman & Wakefield noted. First, thecompany should implement disinfecting procedures in accordance withgoverning authorities and/or best practices before employeesreturn. Along with cleaning, mechanical, HVAC, fire and other "lifesafety" systems should be available, and municipal occupationalhealth and safety guidelines should be reviewed for updatedprocedures.

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The company should also considerworkers' shift patterns and remind workers of protocols forstarting and ending their shift to avoid productivity bottlenecks.Vendors and drivers should also be informed of any new protocols,Cushman & Wakefield added. The checklist also noted companiescould consider if office-based workers can work remotely to reduceon-site employees.

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For employees that must workon-site, experts suggested developing clear plans for entering andexisting the facility. The checklist included banning visitors tothe building and possibly creating restrooms/washrooms fortemporary external drivers. Experts also recommended consideringtemperature checks and/or requiring workers to self-monitor forsymptoms and adjusting stay-at-home sick policies when employeeshave symptoms.

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With no vaccine in sight, socialdistancing has become the go-to answer for combating the virus andwarehouses should adjust their work environments to continue thatmeasure, Cushman & Wakefield argued. Industry specialistsrecommendations included leveraging a mobile app forclocking in/out, staggering break times, increasing space betweenproduction stations and leveraging electronics instead of in-personmeetings .

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Companies should also be preparedto disinfect shared equipment between shifts, experts said.Likewise, organizations should provide additionalsanitizers/disinfectant and removable touch screen film at sharedtouch points, including work equipment and vending machines,experts recommended.

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Lastly, companies need toconfidently communicate to their employees, Cushman & Wakefieldwrote. Companies can project confidence by being unified asemployees return to the warehouse. The company should alsoestablish two-way communication, clearly set employee expectationswith an emphasis on making them feel secure and ensure a trustingand transparent culture.

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Victoria Hudgins

I am a reporter for Legaltech News where I cover data privacy, cybersecurity and technology's impact on the business and practice of law.