The coronavirus outbreak has been wreaking havoc all across the globe. It’s led to a disease called COVID-19, a viral infection with no available vaccine. The virus is spreading with surprising speed, and over 3,000 people have died after contracting the illness.
Since the number of COVID-19 infections in the United States is increasing rapidly, employers have to take action. Not only do they have to have a plan for curtailing the spread of the disease, but they also have to be ready for unexpected absences that could hinder productivity.
If you don’t have an emergency readiness plan in place for the coronavirus, now is the time to create one. If you don’t know where to begin, here are some tips.
Clean Work Areas Regularly and Thoroughly
Along with being spread through respiratory droplets, COVID-19 may also be transferrable through contaminated objects or surfaces. If you want to limit the virus’s ability to spread, it’s critical to disinfect workspaces regularly. This includes everything from desks, computers, and telephones to elevator buttons, staircase handrails, and doorknobs. Office equipment, like copiers and shredders, should also get regular wipe-downs.
Encourage Ill Employees to Stay Home
First and foremost, if an employee believes they have symptoms that align with the COVID-19 infection, they should stay home from work or leave the workplace immediately. This decreases the odds that they’ll spread the disease to their coworkers.
If necessary, consider creating a separate policy regarding sick leave or approved absences. Make sure that it’s generous and encourages employees to err on the side of caution without having to fear any repercussions.
Additionally, be ready to tell sick employees that they are required to leave. Some may be resistant, but you must get them out of the workplace, so don’t be afraid to make exiting if asked mandatory.
Maximize Remote Work Options
Instituting new remote work options during this period of uncertainty is a smart move. This can allow employees to manage their duties without having to come into the office and may be helpful for those who are reluctant to miss a workday but may be ill.
Additionally, it allows you to limit the number of physical contact employees have to have with one another while maintaining productivity. This could reduce the odds of infection, suggesting a person’s home environment is relatively controlled and may allow your workforce to stay healthier, longer.
Create a Communication Plan
Having a mechanism ready for sharing public health information – such as an employee email or cell phone number list – is essential. That way, the company can release details that can combat rumors or workers’ fears and share critical updates if the need arises.
Plus, it ensures that policy updates and similar changes are shared with everyone and that the message remains consistent. This decreases the likelihood of confusion or miscommunications.
Prepare for Your Possible Workforce Needs
If COVID-19 reaches your workplace, you may find yourself short-handed quickly. Having a contingent workforce available who can fill in any gaps is ideal, ensuring you can remain productive if your company can remain open.
Consider partnering with a staffing firm as soon as possible. Discuss your potential needs in advance. That way, should you require an employee quickly, the recruiters will already know what you require and can find a great candidate fast.
If you would like to know more about how you can create an emergency readiness plan for COVID-19, the team at The Advance Group can help. Contact us today and see how our planning expertise can benefit you.