Companies have had to adjust their business models and employees’ schedules to allow flexibility for those that might be dealing with personal or family health issues during these unforeseen times. In doing this, business owners are also protecting their employees from contracting or transmitting the COVID-19 virus. Businesses have allowed employees to work remotely from home, come into the office as needed, or allowed employees to come in on specific days during the week. Many businesses have adapted to these changes to maintain productivity within their company and to prioritize and acknowledge employee’s well-being and health.
Some occupations and industries are having a more difficult time being able to implement these types of structures into their workplaces. Restaurants, retail stores, salons, and other industries don’t have much of a choice then to be in person, engaging in face-to-face contact with customers in order to keep their job and keep their business open. Having detailed company plans and structures in place for the possibility of a COVID exposure in the workplace and schedules for employees to follow is key in creating an organized, successful, and productive business.
Minimizing the risk of virus transmission amongst coworkers and maintaining a healthy work environment is crucial. Here are some precautions and options that businesses could utilize to make sure employees are safe and prioritized in the workplace for the foreseeable future:
- Health Checks
In order to keep employees and customers safe and healthy, having a temperature check before entering the building could prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other colds and viruses that could be transmitted. Checking temperatures and documenting the exact temperature at the door on paper is a great way to track and trace back a possible exposure. It’s also a great way to ensure employees feel a little bit safer entering the workplace knowing the people they are working with are currently are at a normal temperature and aren’t running a fever. For in-person health checks, it can be done using a digital check-in with a health screening on a tablet or simply using a paper and pen. Another option being a virtual health check in on your own device that employees and customers can fill out upon arrival. The CDC recommends having health checks that have a questionnaire including:
- Symptoms of COVID-19
- Fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (°F) or higher or report feeling feverish
- Undergoing evaluation for SARS-CoV-2 infection (such as pending viral test)
- Diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the prior 10 days
- Close contact with someone with SARS-CoV-2 infection during the prior 14 days
In conducting these in person or virtual health checks it helps eliminate the risk of the virus being spread within your business.
- Face Masks
Face masks have now been our biggest protector when it comes to protecting ourselves from infectious viruses, mainly COVID-19. Face masks have helped slow the spread and protect us while in a public setting. It is proven that if two people are wearing masks and abide by social distancing rules it is less than a 2% chance that any virus could be passed on. Wearing a mask in the office or in your place of employment reduces the risk of contracting any type of bacterial virus and reduces the spread of it within your workplace. This means that employees could still come into work with the protection of masks ultimately resulting in a productive workspace and business. The CDC states, “Masks are meant to help prevent workers who do not know they have the virus that causes COVID-19 from spreading it to others; however, masks might provide some protection to wearers.”
- Staggered Schedules – Minimize Capacity of Employees in the Workplace at the Same Time
Creating schedules for your employees to come into work at alternating times from colleagues helps minimize the risk of exposure within the workplace. Developing alternate days to not have all employees in the office at once helps keep the workspace more spread out and reduces the chances of contracting or spreading the virus to the entire company. Having certain days that employees can come into the office displays organization and order within the company as well as keeps employees healthy and safe with less of a risk of contracting COVID-19 or other viruses in the workplace. For example, having a virtual and printed schedule for each employee of certain days during the week they can come into the office gives employees the choice to come into the office while feeling safe, remaining productive, and working in person helps the business as a whole.
- Required Monthly COVID-19 Tests
Having required COVID testing for your employees is beneficial for many reasons. One reason being you can manage and reduce the risk of exposure in the workplace. Another reason being it allows employees to be aware of their health and able to protect themselves and family from contracting COVID-19. It is a luxury to be able to get tested and get results saying whether you are positive or negative for the virus so providing this option for your employees shows that you put their health first and want to keep the workplace safe and everyone in it healthy.
- Social Distancing Markers/Stickers in the Workplace
In retail stores, pharmacies, grocery stores, and other establishments nowadays there are stickers or markers on the floor indicating where to stand to maintain social distancing rules within the building. Crowds are not as common in today’s world given there are max capacities in stores and offices. For example, retail stores have limited their customer capacity only allowing for a few customers in the store at a time to reduce possible exposure of viruses and to maintain social distancing protocols.
- Work from Home
Working from home is the new norm these days. Whether you work in the office somedays and somedays you work from home, or you are full-time working from home, for most, it is a new adjustment to the traditional daily work routine. It is an adjustment to have to set up an office at home, but many companies have allowed employees to do this once the pandemic hit. Having a work from home option or mandatory work from home rule set in place accommodates your employees by allowing them to be more flexible with their work schedule, take care of loved ones, and prioritize their health during this time. Businesses have found that working from home is doable and is effective in keeping business open and productive.
- Quarantine Plan
Developing a quarantine plan if your employees do contract COVID 19 or are exposed is key in keeping your employees healthy and productive. Having a procedure in place that allows employees to work from home if they have been exposed, take the 10-14 days to quarantine if they tested positive, or the ability to get tested is crucial. It allows for a lot more organization within your business while prioritizing your employee’s health, well-being, and career. Having this plan written out and distributed to all employees and reiterated throughout the pandemic is the best way to get all employees in the company on the same page. Sending your quarantine plan or handbook out via email, mail, and reiterating it in company meetings and newsletters will put the plan into effect. Holding these high standards sets the tone within your business that you prioritize the safety and wellbeing of those that you work with as well as the productivity and success of your company. The CDC states, “Have a procedure in place for the safe transport of an employee who becomes sick while at work. The employee may need to be transported home or to a healthcare provider.”
- Disinfection Cleaning Company
Hiring a professional disinfection company to come in weekly or biweekly into your workplace to deep clean your space is a safe and preventative action. Having a scheduled cleaning service to come in mid-work week would be a great way to wipe out any pathogens that could be spread on frequently touched areas in your workplace such as door handles, keyboards, desks, bathrooms, etc. Having a professional service thoroughly clean your work environment helps eliminate the spread of germs as well as brings peace of mind to the employees that are going into work.
- iCleanse Swift UV-C Disinfection Units
A long-term investment that would protect your employees from the spread of infectious pathogens is UV-C units that could be placed within a plethora of business industries such as any of the iCleanse Swift products. Our iCleanse Swift units kill 99.9% of infectious pathogens on a variety of items and devices in as little as 15 seconds. This way when you or your employees feel the need to disinfect their frequently touched belongings, they can do so in less than 30 seconds and remain productive within the workplace while eliminating the spread of pathogens on items.
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash