According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 64% of workers would feel uncomfortable returning to the office. For those who work from home even though their workplace is available to them, 57 percent express concern over being exposed to the coronavirus as a major reason for this. After spending the past year working from the comfort and safety of a remote location, it is clear that employees expect a fundamentally safer work experience than the one they left.
“Before opening their doors to in-person work, employers should first prove they are prioritizing the health and well-being of their employees by putting a plan in place that mitigates COVID-19 risks at the office,” says Steve Robert, global vice president, sales/marketing and product innovation for AIB International. “By establishing and maintaining the best practices found in the Pandemic Prepared Certification for Corporate Offices, Lesaffre has successfully demonstrated that they are reducing risks associated with COVID-19. This will create the conditions for their employees to feel safe and empower them to return to in-person work with confidence.”
Lesaffre’s North American Corporate Office in Milwaukee, Wis., is the first location in the world to achieve certification to AIB International’s new Pandemic Prepared Certification for Corporate Offices. Achieving this certification demonstrates that Lesaffre has prioritized employee health, well-being, and safety, which will build employee confidence and support for their return to working in the office.
Based on the Pandemic Prepared Certification for Food and Beverage Supply Chains that was launched in July 2020, this new certification is rooted in a clear, actionable, and rigorous standard developed with input from the latest COVID-19 information and industry best practices. As employers prepare to welcome employees back to in-person work in office settings, this independent certification requires that protocols are established to recognize and mitigate COVID-19 risks in these workplaces.
“At Lesaffre, there is no higher priority than safety. Taking on this demanding certification demonstrates our commitment to the health and safety of our employees, and our business partners. Through AIB International and their Pandemic Prepared Certification for Corporate Offices standard, we are proud to take a leadership role in this area,” said Tom Benner, president and chief executive officer for Lesaffre. “By achieving this certification, our employees will know that we have elevated critical planning for workplace safety to a best-in-class standard. We believe this will help build their confidence for returning to in-person work, and then help maintain morale once they have returned.”
Requirements in the corporate offices standard address specific challenges unique to office settings. This includes the top five concerns employees have expressed about returning to the workplace, including the following:
- Ensuring people entering the office are not sick;
- Maintaining social distancing;
- Adequate and frequent cleaning and sanitation;
- Plans and protocols on quarantining employees if they start to show symptoms; and,
- Clear employee communication.