When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak in January 2020, the world was turned upside down. As health protocols were put in place, people’s lives had to change to curb the spread. With guidelines such as social distancing, most employees adapted to a new norm of working from home. Come 2021, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout brought hope, and more businesses are allowing their employees back to the workplace. However, the coast isn’t clear, and employers still need to protect their health and their employees with the following measures.
Maintain clean surfaces
Previously, light cleaning in the workplace was enough to get employees through the day. However, with the virus at large, you need to ensure high standards of hygiene. You and your employees come from different locations; you are, therefore, exposed to many contaminants along the way, and this is how COVID-19 spreads. Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces, such as desks, door handles, chairs, telephones, and computer keyboards.
Ensure excellent respiratory hygiene
Good respiratory hygiene curbs the spread of the virus because, in the first place, it’s spread through droplets when an individual coughs or sneezes directly into the air. In the workplace, there are many people; protect your health and employees by ensuring everyone wears their mask correctly and at all times. Additionally, provide adequate ventilation and enough supply of paper tissues and closed bins for hygienic disposal. Put up posters as a reminder and work with health and safety consultants to give briefs during meetings.
Conduct healthy business processes
As you allow employees to go back to the office to carry out business operations, it’s essential to have a coordinator in charge of COVID-19 issues. Additionally, implement supportive practices and policies and flexible sick leaves as per the public health guidance. Employees shouldn’t need to have a COVID-19 test to take sick leave; they should also be allowed to stay home if they choose to and take care of their kids and ill family members.
Suppose you have senior employees or those with underlying health issues at a higher risk of contracting the virus; offer them support. Consider giving them duties that reduce potential contact with other employees and consumers. Due to the availability of vaccines, consider exposing unvaccinated employees to such opportunities and allow them to recover from side effects. Additionally, encourage staff members to engage in healthy practices such as staying active and eating healthily to boost their immunity.
Delay physical meetings and gatherings
Although employees are slowly coming back to the workplace, do it gradually. Many employees have already adapted to remote work; there’s no rush to bring them back into the office. If you have essential functions, consider doing them virtually and if you must have physical meetings, only allow vital staff members to attend.
Everyone, including you, your employees, and the customers, have a responsibility to take care of themselves from contracting and spreading the COVID-19 virus. However, you can take measures to enhance protection, offer employees support, maintain hygiene, and encourage employees to observe a healthy diet and exercise.