COVID-19 has infected over 8.5 million people worldwide since late 2019. By March 2020, governments in over 100 countries had instituted lockdowns and forced businesses to adopt remote work policies or shut down.
Businesses are reopening, but the novel coronavirus remains a threat. Business owners can protect their company and employees with new workplace policies and procedures designed to increase workplace safety without shutting down. You can prepare your business and staff by taking the following steps.
Determine which staff are essential personnel and which are non-essential. You can effectively reduce the number of staff on-site by declaring that only essential employees should report to work. You will also want to establish what conditions would prompt you to limit employees to essential personnel only. You may decide to restrict the number of staff reporting to work if an employee has a confirmed case or if local regulations change.
Modify your leave policy for staff to encourage employees to stay home if they are demonstrating symptoms of the virus. You may also require exposed employees to be tested and cleared before returning to work. Screen employees regularly to ensure only healthy staff are reporting to work. You can create a checklist of symptoms to review with staff at the start of their shift. Send staff home if they exhibit symptoms, such as headaches, sore throat, vomiting, and fever.
Promoting Onsite Safety
Invest in wholesale promotional face masks and ensure your employees have face masks to wear in the workplace. Face masks help reduce the spread of the virus by preventing the wearer from expelling droplets that could transmit it. People wearing face masks will have their mouth and nose covered. People coming in contact with the virus and touching their faces is one of the main methods of virus transmission. Your staff will be unable to touch their mouth and nose if they wear cloth masks. Cloth masks are reusable face masks that can be purchased from reputable vendors, such as the City of Angels PPE.
Encourage your employees to wash their hands regularly. You can provide hand sanitizer for staff to use at their work stations or encourage frequent handwashing breaks. Handwashing is one of the most effective ways to remove the virus and reduce the chance of developing COVID-19. Provide your employees with gloves and encourage them to wear gloves when stocking shelves or handling items for customers. You can reduce the risk of exposure from an asymptomatic employee by requiring staff to wear gloves.
Implementing Remote Work
All staff to work from home if possible. Software for call center implementation can enable your business to transfer calls to employees even if they are off-site. Omnichannel software with artificial intelligence (AI) allows staff to handle communications made by phone, video chat, direct message, email, or fax. The AI processes the needs of the individual contacting your business and forwards their communication to staff who are available to help. Using call center software can enable you to provide customer service while ensuring staff can work remotely.
Invest in computers for staff to use when working from home or purchase laptop computers so workers can move to reduce contact with others when working on-site. Employees can use the built-in video camera and streaming apps to hold conference calls with other employees. Video meetings will allow staff to complete tasks safely and effectively.
Communication and Coverage
Select a communication platform you can use to convey information to all staff. Communication platforms, such as Chatwork or Slack, allow staff to exchange messages and post announcements securely. You can use a communication platform to update workers on new procedures, limit on-site staff to essential personnel only, or notify staff of potential exposure to the virus.
You should also develop contingency plans to cover for staff outages. Some businesses have suffered outbreaks. An effective contingency plan can ensure you can operate safely in the event of staff illnesses.