After weeks of working remotely, LyondellBasell employees in downtown Houston, TX and Rotterdam, the Netherlands are gradually being reintroduced to office life, where new safety measures and processes are a reminder of the new normal COVID-19 has forced upon all of us.
“Return to the workplace does not mean a return to normal, but rather to a new normal,” said Richard Roudeix, senior vice president, olefins and polyolefins, Europe, Asia and International. “Although in most countries the peak of the epidemic is behind us, the virus is still here. So we will have to learn and strictly follow new guidelines to not only protect ourselves, but also to protect and respect our colleagues.”
Much preparation was made at both sites, such as proper cleaning procedures, implementing health screenings and ensuring access to hand sanitizer, for the health and safety of employees returning to work.
In May, a small number of employees located at the Houston, TX corporate office volunteered to return to the office and experienced the necessary precautions before they stepped foot into the building. Before leaving home each day, employees and contractors are required to complete a health screening questionnaire. When they reach the elevator banks in the lobby, an attendant in the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) welcomed employees and resident contractors, and made their floor selections to minimize contact with the elevator buttons. When individuals arrive at the elevator lobby area of their floor, temperature checks are taken prior to gaining access to their floor. One-way directional markings are placed on the carpet throughout hallways to make sure employees stay six feet apart and follow streamlined paths to their offices, the coffee bar, restrooms and other common areas.
“It was important for us to take the necessary steps to ensure that our employees feel safe when they returned to work,” said Michael Fontenot, global infrastructure protection global security and crisis management manager in Houston. “It will take some time to retrain our daily behavior, but these adjustments are made to help us all remain safe and healthy.”
In Rotterdam, the national lockdown orders are gradually being relaxed. After 10 weeks of working from home, LyondellBasell Rotterdam employees and contractors were getting back to work in the office on a voluntary basis.
Several creative measures were taken to accommodate personnel with a safe approach. The Rotterdam office restaurant remains closed. So, a special menu was created for all co-workers to order and have food delivered deskside. The site also has several employees who acted as “safety coaches” to actively listen to any concerns their colleagues may have about returning to work and provide solutions.
“We are here to support employees as they embrace these new challenges,” stated Elaine Becraft, senior director, Human Resources, Europe. “As employees return to work, things will look different. In time these new measures and procedures will become habits. We are here to make our workplaces safe and support the health and well-being of the workforce.”
All employees returning to the corporate offices received a care package containing a note from the LyondellBasell leadership team, facial coverings, hand sanitizer, diary to perform contact tracing, a touch pen for coffee machines and printers, a garbage bag, and some snacks.
LyondellBasell has implemented a strategic and staged approach for employees to return to work that aligns each country’s policies and orders set by state and local officials.