Today the whole world is badly affected by the global epidemic Coronavirus/Covid-19. The tragedy has caused thousands of deaths already across the globe and is still not under control (view latest statistics). The Governments of all countries have closed their borders for an indefinite time to avoid further spread of the deadly virus and imposed a quarantine on all corona-suspected people. In the worst cases, health screenings are being performed for every individual of the community. The big plutonomists have warned for the worst global recession ever because of this tragedy.
Health experts have considered gathering as one of the biggest reason for the spread of covid-19. This has made corporate companies ask their employees to work from home and also revise their policies in terms of including coronavirus protective measures for employees. This is a must call for the employers to be actioned effectively to get prepared for this and future epidemics. Here we have come up with some important questions and answers employers must know to tweak their policies and strategies.
1.How to Protect Employees from being infected in the workplace
The coronavirus/covid-19 causes a respiratory infection which is spread through the droplets of the covid-19 infected person-generated through coughing or sneezing. It is also possible to get infected by touching an infected surface and then touching nose, mouth or eyes. The Centers for disease control and prevention has released a list of guidelines to protect your employees from this deadly disease. Read these do’s and don’ts to keep your employees safe from the Coronavirus.
Additionally, handshaking is one of the popular ways to greet each other in the workplace which needs to be avoided. Many companies and even big leaders have said no to handshake to prevent the spread of the virus. Employers must start focusing more on the cleanliness of the workplace as the dirty and contaminated surfaces cause flourishing of viruses. Enough stock of soap, handwash and alcohol-based sanitizers needs to be available in the workplace so employees have access whenever required during office hours.
2. When should we not allow employees or visitors in the workplace
As we explained above that the covid-19 is spread through the droplets of already infected person so employers should have a clause in their policy to not allow sick employees in the workplace. They should be asked to work from home instead to avoid infection among the other employees. The managers must have clear instructions to send back any employee who shows fever, cough or any other viral symptom. The wellness department may also screen such employees or ask suspicious employees to get tested for covid-19.
The World health organization recommends companies not to allow employees for 14 days who have any exposure to the virus or contacted closely with a covid-19 infected person. For more information, see CDC’s guidelines.
3. Is there a need for revising our policies around business travel of employees?
Almost all multinational companies have now restricted their employees from travelling to coronavirus affected countries for business purpose as it may tend to severe exposure to the virus or productivity loss of employees due to they will be imposed quarantine for 14 days after landing. The CDC currently recommends companies to cancel all non-essential business travels. For more information, see CDC travel notice.
Employers should amend their policy for employees’ business trips stating not to plan business travel if unwell or they will have to face quarantine of 14 days if they show any mild symptom of coronavirus infection such as cough, fever or sore throat.
4. Should we replan our scheduled conferences or meetings?
Yes, the WHO also advises adopting social distancing to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus. Looking at the current scenario, all conferences or meetings must be postponed or converted to virtual meetings digitally instead of in-person. If the physical appearance of people is really required then invite the only mandatory candidates. Also, communicate social distancing with each participant and arrange the room accordingly so there has to be at least 6 feet distance between two persons in the meeting.
5. Should we encourage employees to work remotely?
Yes, if we look at the current situation when the entire world is facing a disaster caused by the coronavirus, it is a much-needed step from the corporates for the safety of employees and business processes. Although many industries such as manufacturing, retail and health & pharma require the physical appearance of their staff yet work like meetings, discussions, online marketing can be done from a remote location. It reduces the risk of getting virus exposure.
In a nutshell, vigilance is much expected from corporate organizations to deal with such outbreaks and now is the best time to show some diligence and test your ability to handle the pandemics.
A skilful decision making followed by recommended protective measures will keep your workplace safe and help you win trust of your employees and customers in this phase of coronavirus.
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