The COVID-19, also popularly known as coronavirus, has caused businesses to ban all travel plans, exports, and imports, impacting the business economy, especially countries closely associated with China. This outbreak has forced the businesses to strategize and review policies and procedures to protect their employees, customers, and business operations in future epidemics and health hazards.
Here are some to-dos that the companies should practice at their workplace to respond and protect their employees against the threat from COVID-19.
What are the basic tips that should be followed at your workplace every day?
Ensure workplace and personal hygiene
- Desks, tables, telephones, keyboards, doors, handles, and other high contact surfaces and areas should be wiped with disinfectants every day.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizers should be kept in prominent places in and around the workplace. Keep an eye on these dispensers for refilling.
- Ask your local health authorities to provide you with posters so that you can display them in your workplaces and promote hand wash.
- Ask your local health service providers to carry out meetings, seminars, inspections, and provide guidance to promote preventive measures against the spreading of COVID-19.
Practice Respiratory Hygiene
- Ensure that face masks and paper tissues are available at your workspace.
- Ensure availability of closed bins.
- Ensure posters that display the right way of sneezing and coughing and steps to dispose of the tissue.
What precautions should be taken when you and your employees travel?
Before planning to travel:
- Analyze and gather information about the area you are planning to visit.
- Make a list of the areas where there are reported cases of COVID-19 and the latest information on how much it has spread to date.
- Analyze the risks related to travel on the basis of the information gathered.
- List employees who are ill, diabetic, lung and respiratory problems, older age, heart ailments, and so on. Avoid sending such employees as they are at higher risks of getting infected.
While your employees are traveling:
- Wash hands frequently
- Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Use a disposable tissue while sneezing or coughing and stay away at least one meter away from people who are coughing and sneezing.
- Dispose of the used tissue in closed bins.
- Sanitize your hands immediately after disposing of the used tissue.
- Don’t touch eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Use a mask while traveling through public transport or even in offices.
- If your employee falls sick while traveling, ensure that they have the correct information about the health centers they can immediately contact.
- Ensure that your employees while traveling to a particular area should comply with the instructions given by the local authorities.
After returning from their business tour:
- An employee who has returned from an area affected by COVID-19 should check with the local authorities, monitor themselves for 14 days, and check the temperature twice a day.
- It is advisable for employees who develop a mild cough or low-grade fever, they should isolate themselves and stay away from human contact including family members.
- They should consult a local health provider and brief them about their travel details and symptoms.
How to act if someone is ill with the suspected COVID-19 at your workplace?
Strategize a plan of action if you suspect an ill employee with suspected COVID-19 at your workplace. The plan should incorporate the following points:
- Identify people who are at risk of getting infected with COVID-19. Check their traveling histories to figure out the possibilities of the person to get infected.
- A person suffering from fever, cold, and cough should ask to isolate themselves in a room or area to avoid any contact with any employee in the workplace.
- A person who has all the symptoms of COVID-19 should test himself/herself for the same from the local health authorities or COVID-19 authorized centres.
- Check for people whom the affected person has come in contact with. Ask help from the local health authorities to test them for the same. Support them rather than discrimination and stigma.
- Check the medical history of the person you are suspecting of having COVID-19. A person having conditions like diabetes, heart and lung disease, older age, low immunity, put them at higher risk of getting infected with COVID-19.
- You can promote ‘work from home’ facilities for your employees. In case of emergencies or any reported cases in your community, the local health authorities may take a step and advise people to avoid public and local transport or visit any crowded areas. In such scenarios, your business will keep operating and your employees will be safe.
- You have a business to run. But such a sudden breakout may result in interruption of the regular processes that are necessary to be carried out. Being an employer, you need to be prepared with a business continuity plan for such outbreaks in your community, especially in areas where your business operates.
- Your business continuity plan should include:
- A full proof plan that would help your business running even due to the absence of employees because of local restrictions, can’t visit your place due to the traveling restrictions or maybe because they are ill.
- Your business continuity plan should be communicated to all your employees. They should be aware of the dos and don’ts of the plan.
- You need to highlight the importance of working from home when they aren’t keeping well and have symptoms similar to that of COVID-19. Ask them to carry simple medications like paracetamol, ibuprofen, and so on, for mild symptoms like headache, etc.
- Your plan should incorporate the mental and social consequences of a person infected through the COVID-19 in your workplace or in the community. Try to offer information and help as much as possible.
- Your plan should include partnership programs with health centers. This, in turn, results in local health service providers in case of emergencies. You can collaborate with them and plan accordingly.
COVID-19 is mostly due to human contact. You should keep communicating and spread awareness about COVID-19, its symptoms, causes, and preventive measures to your employees.
You need to encourage your employees to stay at home even if they have mild symptoms of COVID-19. Ensure your employees that their leaves for these symptoms will be counted as sick leave. You can publish posters on various social media platforms, communities, websites, and at your workplace. Keep them updated with the COVID-19 status and motivate them for personal hygiene. Promote COVID-19 awareness through campaigns by partnering with public health authorities or any local bodies.
Prepare for COVID-19 with these simple to-dos. Precautions and planning will help your business and employees to stay safe from this outbreak.