The coronavirus has shaken the world in unprecedented ways. What started as an epidemic in Wuhan has turned into a deadly pandemic. Nations across the world have imposed lockdowns. However, governments and organizations are now looking to get back on their feet and discover alternate ways to resume operations. In India too, cities are slowly opening up and a few workplaces have started functioning again, albeit with constraints.
As we look at resuming our lives, the one question that many will ask themselves is “how to prevent coronavirus in the workplace?”. The virus will be around for a while but with adequate precautions, normal work life can be ensured for all employees. In these testing times, each one of us can play an active role in reducing the risk of infections at the workplace.
In this blog, we will present some of the steps business owners and corporate managers can take to keep the office safe and healthy.
1. Continue with Work From Home: Evaluate the work of each employee and ask yourself “Can these tasks be performed from outside the workplace?” If the answer is yes, then such personnel should be asked to operate from home itself. Meetings and discussions can be conducted online via teleconferencing and/or video conferencing facilities.
2. Ensure all employees and visitors wash their hands with sanitizer or hand wash: Cleaning hands with a sanitizer with over 60% alcohol or a good hand wash should be mandatory. Keep a bottle of sanitizer at the reception of every floor. Put up a sign that says “Cleaning hands with sanitizer is mandatory” at all entrances. You could also give the responsibility of making sure this is done by everyone who enters the premises without fail to personnel in the admin department. In the washrooms, hang a sign to help remind employees as well as visitors in large bold letters that washing hands with soap is mandatory.
3. Communicate with employees: Communicate the practices that will be followed and your reasons for doing so. Once the purpose of the rules is made clear to everyone, everyone will cooperate.
4. Frame rules on hygiene: Framing rules on hygienic practices will go a long way in preventing the virus from entering your workplace. Some of the rules can be as given below:
5. Create Standard Operating Protocols to deal with employees who may exhibit symptoms.
Your organisation could create a standard operation protocol after consulting management and experts.
For instance, the SOP should have clear instructions about what to do if an employee starts exhibiting symptoms similar to those who are suffering from Covid-19.
If employees start exhibiting symptoms similar to those exhibited by individuals suffering from Covid-19, they can be encouraged to inform the HR department immediately.
If any employee reports a runny nose, cough or a fever in the last few days, quarantine him or her. Ask him or her to work from home or take sick leave for the next few days till the symptoms disappear.
6. Send emails, WhatsApp messages to employees on precautionary measures as well as steps to be taken to stay healthy, and some other inspirational messages to keep them motivated through these tough times.
7. Disinfect the office: Make sure the office stays clean and is disinfected regularly. Clean the computers, mouse, furniture every day. Ensure the floor is mopped every day with a powerful soap or disinfectant and the washrooms are kept spic and span.
8. Reschedule all travel plans: Try to keep all travel plans at bay. Try doing as much as possible via video conferencing. If travel is a must, it would be wise to refrain from travelling to COVID-19 hotspots.
9. Keep abreast of all that is going on: One of the most important aspects of being informed is not to fall prey to rumours floating across various social media channels. For instance, messages on the lines of “eating garlic can cure coronavirus” or “2020 will be the year the world ends” has been making its rounds on Whatsapp. While many of us may not fall prey to these kinds of rumours, the subtler ones can get to the least gullible of us. Hence, check your sources of information. Get your news from credible sources. Do not circulate messages that you are not sure of yourself.
10. Engage with the employees: Ask them if they have any questions. What are they scared of? Give details of plans in case the virus ceases to spread. Assure employees that all necessary precaution is being taken to keep them safe within the office premises.
Must Read: 10 Types of Business Loans in India
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