Ever since the outbreak of COVID-19, our timelines have been divided into pre-COVID-19 and post COVID-19. Government and people across the world have been grappling with ways to stay safe and continue life normally. Every aspect of our lives has been affected by and is being adapted according to the post-pandemic norms. It is the need of the hour and one’s moral obligation to adhere to these norms to ensure the safety of all around them.
Therefore, as an employer, you must ensure that your workplace is a safe space for all your employees’ health. Although it may seem tedious in hindsight, it will come about as quite painless if you follow the correct guidelines and the correct procedure.
How Can People Catch COVID-19?
Before you start to combat the spread of COVID-19, you must know how the coronavirus spreads. Thereby, you may better protect yourself and your employees.
The spread of COVID-19 is caused by the transmission of infected fluid when anyone with the virus coughs or exhales, it becomes transmittable. These droplets may fall and remain on surfaces like tabletops, desks, computers, mobile phones, doorknobs, railings, etc. When other people touch these surfaces or objects and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth, they may carry the virus to their bodies.
A person standing within one meter of a COVID-19 patient may also get infected by inhaling the droplets of infected fluid that the patient would have exhaled or coughed out.
Things to Do Even if There Is Not a COVID-19 Case in Your Community
By following some simple precautions, you can make sure your workplace remains free of COVID-19. These measures are not even going to be heavy on your pocket. Nonetheless, you will have participated in the fight against COVID-19, by only taking some small steps. Here are the guidelines to follow to make your workplace ready for COVID-19:
Ensure a clean and hygienic work environment.
As explained above, touching the contaminated surfaces may expose one to getting the virus. Thus, the foremost precaution for you to take is to ensure regular cleaning and disinfecting of all surfaces and objects at your workplace. The cleaners should also wear gloves and masks themselves.
Spending a little amount on hygiene products for your office will also save you from the losses if your employees go on sick leaves or the work-premise becomes a contamination zone.
Encourage employees, customers, and contractors, to do regular and thorough handwashing or to use sanitizers.
For this, you will have to facilitate washrooms and places where employees, customers, or contractors may have access to soap and water. Also, you will have to make provisions for sanitizers around prominent places in the office. Ensure they are regularly filled or replaced. You may also advise the employees to bring along their sanitizers.
You may use several methods to communicate the importance of keeping hand-washing and sanitizing. These include putting up posters, briefings during meetings, or emails promoting handwashing. For detailed Guidance, you may also offer precautions from occupational health and safety officers around you.
Make sure that respiratory hygiene is maintained in the workplace.
Make face masks, tissues, and gloves available at your office. Ensure that all the employees have access to these. Above all, you will have to teach the habits of wearing the masks properly. For this, you can put up posters and provide briefings about the significance of respiratory hygiene at the workplace.
Encourage the employees to prioritize their health.
You will have to amend any issues that may arise with employees working from home or taking sick leaves if or when the employees show any symptoms. Inform them that if they develop mild symptoms or COVID-19 starts spreading in the community, they may need to work from home.
Medicines like paracetamol, aspirin, and ibuprofen may mask the symptoms of COVID-19. So, if any of the employees have had to take any of these medications, they should also work from home. Allow the employees to take sick leaves if they develop serious symptoms.
Make sure that your employees do not have to worry about losing their jobs. This may lead them to risk their health and unintentionally that of others. Overall, try to create a supportive environment in the time of crisis.
Things to Keep in Mind Regarding Meetings and Events
While organizing meetings, you will have to keep in mind the potential risks of people bringing and others catching COVID-19. Before organizing an event or meeting, you may consult local authorities and follow their advice.
You may consider the following before holding an event or a meeting:
- The necessity of the physical presence and whether an online meeting or event could replace the same.
- Consider if the number of attendees could be reduced.
- Keep track of where the COVID-19 is spreading.
- Advise participants not to attend even if they have mild symptoms.
- Place orders for sanitizers, masks, and tissues.
- Collect emails, contact numbers, and addresses of all attendees and inform them that they may be shared with local authorities if they become ill with COVID-19.
- Prepare a room for isolating any attendee if they develop symptoms or feel ill during the event. Also, plan how to go about things if anyone tests positive and must be transported.
During the meeting or event, make seating arrangements such that all are 6 feet apart. You will have to encourage all the attendees to follow the COVID-19 protocol. This may include greeting each other without shaking hands or touching and covering their mouth with tissues or elbow-bend while sneezing.
You will not only have to put sanitizer around the venue, but also make them well-displayed. Keeping the doors and windows open will help keep the place ventilated.
If any of your employees have had to travel or will be travelling in the future, you will have to make sure they and their families are well-protected.
While you go about these precautions and measures, the one thing you have to remember is that you don’t have to do it alone. You are following these norms for the safety of those who enter your workplace and your community. This requires contribution and cooperation from everybody. Therefore, as an employer and leader of your organization, the best of your roles is to encourage and thank everyone so they may co-operate.