As we head into the fall months in the US, many businesses are wondering how to keep their workforce safe from COVID-19. There are many ways that individuals can be exposed to the virus, but when it comes to employers and the policies, they can enact to keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible, here is what you need to take into account.
Have People Stay Home When Sick
Sick days are never great for productivity, but when it comes to dealing with COVID-19, it’s much better to be safe than sorry. Encourage employees to stay home if they are experiencing any of the symptoms of the virus, including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. This is with the intention of giving those employees time to recover, but also helping reduce exposure in the workplace. It’s all too easy for a cough to carry through an enclosed space and distribute the virus to other potential hosts.
Make Social Distancing Possible
Social distancing at work can be a tough sell, especially for those workplaces which require teams to collaborate in close quarters. But reducing the number of on-site workers where possible, adding protective plexiglass barriers when it’s not possible to limit interactions between coworkers, and keeping areas well ventilated can all help reduce exposure as much as possible. Even if someone is not feeling ill, they can expose others to the virus. That’s why it’s so important to keep people 6 feet apart or more. And move as many tasks and interactions into the virtual realm as is possible. Investing in some good video conferencing equipment could be the tool you need to stay connected even when everyone needs to be so far apart.
Make Mask Wearing the Standard
Masks are one of the strongest tools we have to help slow COVID down in our country. By wearing a mask, individuals are less likely to pass on the virus to others they interact with. So even when workers are not feeling sick or don’t think they have the virus, making sure they wear a mask at all times (covering both their nose and mouth), they can limit exposure and reduce the spread of the virus. If your employees don’t have masks, consider distributing them. You could even do what many businesses are already doing by making the mask part of their uniform or daily wear. Print out a bunch with your logo on them and benefit from instant marketing visibility.
Enable Remote Working
While many employers are daunted by overcoming the challenges of a fully remote workforce, there are many business lines where it makes perfect sense. Teams can stay connected and be productive even with nothing but a computer between them. Team chat programs like Slack or Microsoft Teams help keep the conversation going even when your teammates are out of the office. Video conferencing is a great way to have those tough conversations and look your coworkers in the eye while you do it. Work has continued, where it can, for the past several months, because remote work is achievable in many cases. You just need to see who it is appropriate and how it works for you.