Many businesses have been affected by the pandemic and the restrictions imposed on them as a result. While some bigger businesses may have thrived during this time, smaller ones may be struggling with costs and/or loss of sales. With that in mind, how can you protect your employees if one of them shows signs of having COVID?
Getting a test quickly
The quicker an employee can be tested, the sooner your other employees can be informed they need to isolate if the test is positive. Or, if given the all-clear, you can minimize the amount of time that person is away from work, with as few disruptions as possible for them, and to your business, while adhering to the rules and keeping your workforce safe.
Get a COVID test at home
Ready Responders are offering a service where you can get a COVID Test at home: “If you live in one of the select cities, you can actually get a COVID test done right at home by urgent care provider Ready Responders. Ready sends a medical professional to your location, same-day, in most cases and administers a Rapid COVID Test, which will get you results in about 15 minutes. Ready also provides general urgent care services at-home in New York City, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Shreveport, Houma, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Reno, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.”
If an employee tests positive
If a member of your workforce tests positive, it’s understandable that others working in the same space will be apprehensive. To ease their worries and decrease the risk of infection, having the area or building thoroughly disinfected is recommended.
Reminding other employees of safety measures such as the regular use of hand sanitizer, social distancing measures and the wearing of masks where needed – will also help to prevent other employees being infected.
Finding ways to adapt
You may need to adapt your workspace. This might sound like another cost after an already expensive year. However, it doesn’t have to be expensive and can include things like moving desks to allow more space between each one and providing PPE wherever necessary.
Alternative ways to work
If it’s possible, you could allow employees to work from home as a way of protecting them from the risk of infection. Meetings can be conducted from home using video software such as Zoom. Weighing up the cost of staff being off sick against the cost of any resources you need to supply in order for staff to operate as normal from home, can often make the latter a cheaper option.
Allowing anyone with symptoms to work from home until they are tested and given the all-clear will protect everyone else. Giving priority to those with pre-existing health conditions to also work from home, will minimize the risks of them getting infected (either in the workplace or while commuting between home and work).
While it may not be possible to have all your staff working from home, because some tasks need to be done at your place of business, you might want to alternate when the rest of your employees work from home to achieve social distancing in the workplace. So, having half of your employees working from home one week, while the other half work as normal could be a viable option.
Ensuring employees are aware of procedure
It’s likely you have a procedure in place for any employees to follow who have signs of COVID. It’s important to make sure everyone is aware of what to do in such a situation, and for you to check in regularly with your staff more often than you might otherwise.
Working with suppliers and clients from other businesses
If you regularly get deliveries or have clients visiting from outside of your business, sharing information with them and agreeing on guidelines will protect you, them and your respective workforces. If any of these meetings can be done over the phone or in other safer ways, then to help protect employees, it’s something to consider.
Few people enjoy cleaning, especially if it’s not in their job role, but either hiring a cleaner or increasing the hours of your existing cleaner is a good way of preventing the spread of COVID. He/she will have to be thorough, regularly cleaning and disinfecting all work surfaces, door handles and anything else employees come into regular contact with. Alternatively, dividing extra cleaning duties between your staff, is an option. Providing they understand the reasons, they will most likely want to help protect themselves and their colleagues.
It may be more work and some extra cost initially, but in the long term, protecting your employees from the risks of COVID has multiple benefits and will help to keep your business running as smoothly as possible.