The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives. For businesses and employees, the last 12 months have been incredibly challenging, and the future remains uncertain. As an employer, it’s essential to focus on staying afloat and keeping customers happy, but it’s also crucial to take good care of your team. In this guide, we’ll explore effective measures to keep employees safe.
Understanding the rules and regulations
The most significant issues related to the Covid-19 crisis are the speed of spread and the potential impact on health and wellbeing, especially for those who are older and people with underlying health conditions. This virus can spread rapidly, and there’s no way of knowing how it will affect different people. To stem the spread and protect employees and their families, authorities introduced a raft of measures and regulations to create safer workplaces. As an employer, it’s critical to be aware of the latest rules and guidelines and to ensure you are fully compliant. The changes you make to your business premises can help to provide reassurance for customers and employees at the same time as protecting them. Ensure that you understand the latest guidelines and how they impact you and look for information and industry-specific advice from the bodies and organizations that govern and represent your sector.
In addition, it is also important to make sure that you are familiar with workers’ rights and that you have an insight into what is required to make employees feel safe and reduce the risk of them contracting the virus. There are different guidelines in place related to workers comp during COVID 19 depending on where you are in the country. It is wise for employers to carry out research and seek legal advice if there is a possibility of employees being able to make a claim in the event of catching Covid-19.
Working from home
Working from home is not a viable solution for employers operating in all sectors, but it is possible for many businesses to adapt to remote working. Millions of employees are already working from home and this is a trend that is set to continue for the foreseeable. As an employer, you can facilitate effective, efficient home working by providing advice to help your team get set up and utilizing technology, software and tools that make it easy to stay in touch, update group projects and get together virtually. It’s also beneficial to take steps to improve morale and to help your employees work productively. Many people will enjoy the flexibility of being at home, but for others, the transition may be more difficult to manage. Help your team to find a healthy work-life balance by setting out core hours, which give employees scope to manage their schedules, encouraging breaks for exercise and fresh air and trying to catch up frequently to check in and see how everyone is doing. Away from meetings and conferences, organize the occasional social call, quiz or Friday night drinks, for example.
It’s not always possible to prevent every injury or illness in a workplace, and the virus has caused widespread disruption, even for businesses and organizations that have introduced stringent infection control and social distancing measures. The aim is to do the best you can to minimize risks. Cutting down on social contacts is the most significant step. If you run an office or a store, make sure numbers are limited, encourage hand washing and sanitizing and make sure clients and employees understand that they cannot visit or come into work if they are displaying symptoms or they have been in close contact with somebody who has symptoms or has tested positive. It’s also essential to keep the space as clean as possible.
Isolating and support for staff needing time off
Health experts and ministers all over the world implore the public to stay at home, particularly if they have symptoms, they have been with people who have tested positive, or they have the virus. While many people are doing this, it is thought that some are continuing to go to work because they cannot afford to lose money or they are worried about losing their job. There is also the risk of passing the virus on while being unaware that you have it, as many people are asymptomatic. As an employer, it’s important to communicate with your team, to issue clear guidelines related to isolating and taking time off and to try and be flexible when it comes to supporting those who may not be able to work. Working from home may be an option for those who need to isolate, but if it isn’t practical, provide the support needed to ensure that the individual is able to stay at home without fearing for their livelihood. If people continue to go to work, to use public transport and to visit public places like shops with symptoms, the virus will continue to spread.
Protecting the most vulnerable
Data suggests that the vast majority of people who contract Covid-19 will not develop severe symptoms or require hospital treatment. However, there is a risk of serious, even life-threatening symptoms, particularly in older people and those who have existing health issues. If you have employees who are vulnerable, take additional steps to protect them and minimize the risk of them being exposed to the virus. It is sensible to encourage those who can to work from home. If this is not viable, providing extra PPE and reducing contact will help.
The Covid-19 crisis has been extremely difficult to manage for employers and employees. With lockdowns still in place in many countries and infection rates stubbornly high, it seems as though we will not be returning to ‘normal’ any time soon. If you run a business, make it your mission to protect your employees and keep them safe. Following guidelines, ensuring you comply with rules and regulations, minimizing risks, protecting the vulnerable and encouraging those who feel unwell to isolate will all help to stem the spread.