Healthy Practices Maximize Employee’s Ability to Return to Work
COVID-19 is affecting all industries – businesses and nonprofits alike – whether they are large corporations or small independent businesses. Across the globe people are looking to come out of quarantine healthy and ready to get back to work, but the best and fastest way to accomplish that is to fully follow recommendations provided by leading health organizations and experts. This means teleworking when possible, social distancing, regular hand washing and wearing facemasks.
We have seen stark differences between cities, states and even countries that clamp down on these practices to stop the spread of the virus. To get to the point of returning to normal, or a semblance of it, the following recommendations on how employers can implement hygienic practices will be important to our success.
Work from Home if Possible:
If you have not already, and are capable to doing so, have your staff work from home. This allows employees to remain in the safe confines of their homes, free from potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus which could be contracted to and from work, or even at the workplace.
Keep the Workplace Hygienic:
Understanding that not all jobs allow for teleworking, employers need to keep the workplace clean and disinfected from potential contact or spread of COVID-19. This means regularly cleaning all commonly touched surfaces such as counters, desks, doorknobs, phones, kitchen areas, bathroom facilities and more. It is also recommended that buildings offer hygienic hand stations with soap and water, or hand sanitizer for employees and customers. Soap and water, as well as household disinfectants that have are least 70% alcohol help stop the virus.
As much as possible, make sure that employees are practicing social distancing (stay at least six feet from one another, and that they are washing their hands with soap and water for 20 to 30 seconds.
Regularly Stay in Communications Contact with Staff:
It will be important to stay in regular communications with your employees to stay on top of current work projects, providing them updates on the organization, and to ask about their overall wellbeing.
Phone calls, email or even virtual video meetings are recommended ways to touch base. The frequency of these meetings is up to you, but it is recommended to communicate with staff at least twice a week.
Provide Staff with COVID Guidelines:
Either you as the boss, or your HR department, should provide your staff with guidelines to follow to avoid contraction of COVID-19, such as social distancing and hand washing. This is to ensure that they and their families are staying safe.
The guidelines should also include what the employee needs to do if they contract COVID.
If an Employee Contracts COVID, Know Who They Were in Contact With:
Research is ongoing about the spread of COVID-19, but we do know that it can be contracted through person-to-person contact. If an employee contracts COVID, it will be important to know who your employee was in contact with prior to showing symptoms of the virus, such as fellow employees.
If your staff were already working from home for a period of time prior to the employee getting sick, it could be unlikely that other coworkers will get sick. However, if your employee was recently in the workplace and in contact with other staff members, this is critical to know. For any employees that were near the infected staff member, they should be alerted immediately and encouraged to see their doctor.
Additional Information on Responding to COVID-19:
For additional information, recommendations or questions on staying safe amidst COVID-19, please visit Xenophon Strategies’ COVID Crisis Response webpage at: https://xenophonstrategies.com/covid-19-response.
Getting Back to Work is an ongoing series on health and safety regarding COVID-19 from Xenophon Strategies, in partnership with Dr. David Hamer, a professor at the Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine with more than 30 years of experience in epidemiological diseases. Through the partnership Xenophon is working with Dr. Hamer to provide science-based recommendations and guidance on how employers, employees, and families should best respond to and combat the COVID-19 pandemic.