Managing your warehouse during the outbreak

You probably have one or more warehouses to run, but with the new coronavirus outbreak, what do you do? How do you manage your workers?

The basics

The most important thing to do is listen to your workers. Ask them what they need. Be sure to provide them with all the essential items and protection as soon as possible. This includes facemasks, gloves and also installing hand sanitizer dispensers all across the warehouse.

warehouse coronavirus

It is extremely important to keep your works safe and healthy, because without them, your warehouse wouldn’t be running at all. Also, if your workers do not feel safe working in the warehouse, give them some time off. Do not force them to work in a dangerous environment, especially without proper protection! You probably have hundreds of workers running around the warehouse, in close proximity to each other. This is very dangerous, so cutting down on the number of workers is the way to go. We know that this isn’t ideal, as it will slow your business down. But a slow business is better than no business.

A few more tips

Another important aspect to consider is constantly and regularly cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting the warehouse. This is how we would recommend doing it:

1) First of all, clean all the surfaces thoroughly as you would usually do.

2) Use the sanitizer or disinfectant on the surface according to instructions, allowing the labelled dwell time to occur.

The two-step process is critical for a few reasons. First, pre-cleaning surfaces is a required step for disinfectants. Dirty surfaces can interfere with the effectiveness of disinfectants, meaning you’re not actually killing the bacteria you think you are. Second, if done correctly every time, it can reduce the sticky residue left behind by disinfectants.

And always keep the golden rule in mind: proper cleaning and disinfection is only one piece of a complete infection prevention program. It all starts by properly washing our hands. Remember, hand hygiene is the first line of defense against the spread of infectious diseases.

See how Amazon is managing the situation

You know Amazon, and you probably know that they have hundreds of large warehouses. So how do they cope with the pandemic, what are they doing to prevent it?

Amazon is caught in an uncomfortable vise: On one hand, the company is providing a lifeline — some would even say an essential service — to shoppers who would rather not brave their local supermarket or big-box store. On the other, keeping operations going risks the health and lives of the lowest-paid members of Amazon’s workforce, the warehouse workers and drivers who are unable to work from home like their corporate colleagues.

In addition to what we’ve mentioned above (i.e. facemasks, gloves, hand sanitizers, disinfecting, etc.), Amazon is also doing something truly remarkable. They are hiring thousands of warehouse workers to help during these difficult times.

But why? We just said that having more and more people in the same warehouse is a bad day, so why are Amazon hiring more people? They are doing this so that shifts are far apart from each other. In other words, instead of working one day, then having a day off, workers can now work one day, and have 2-3 days off, meaning they can stay at home for longer, without negatively affecting the business. This is enabled by the fact that there are a lot more workers now. Quite ingenious.

What’s next?

We would recommend proceeding with caution, and making sure your warehouse never runs out of the essential protection, i.e. masks, gloves, etc. It’s dangerous for so many people to work in one building at the same time, so making sure that they are properly protected should be any warehouse’s owner priority.

multiple warehouses

Conclusion

While we cannot entirely stop the pandemic, and while we cannot just shut off every warehouse in the country, the only option that remains is to cut on the number of people that are working at the same time in a warehouse, and making sure that they’re fully protected.

Keep in mind, these workers risk their health in order to ship essential goods to your customers. Goods such as toilet rolls, soap, hygiene products and many more. If the pandemic gets a lot worse, then you might be forced to shut down your warehouse, but until then – stay safe!