The coronavirus is everywhere in the news these days and increasingly affecting the way we go about our daily lives. Schools are closing or holding classes remotely, sporting events are being cancelled or postponed and in Italy all businesses have been shut down other than grocery store, pharmacies and emergency government services. While still a small presence in the United States, it is important for businesses to take actions now to protect their ongoing workplace operations.
First, a little about the coronavirus. It is very similar to the flu in both its symptoms and contagion. Droplets of infected fluid is released when a contaminated individual coughs or even just exhales. If a person is close enough they may inhale these droplets directly. However, the droplets can also land on nearby surfaces such as tables, desks, telephones, etc. People can then tough those surfaces and pick up the droplets on their hands, which in turn can be inhaled if the person then touches their face. Experts are still not sure if the coronavirus is more contagious or lethal than the flu, which each year infects millions of Americans and results in more than 60,000 deaths. However, due to this uncertainty extreme caution should be taken.
So what should companies do to control the effect on their workplaces? First of all, make sure that steps are taken to keep all areas of the workplace clean. This means thorough cleaning of all surfaces with disinfectants regularly (at least daily). Next communicate proper hygiene practices to employees and visitors, such as:
- Regular and thorough washing of hands
- Placing hand sanitizer dispensers in prominent places and keep them filled
- Provide face masks and tissues for employees who may have minor symptoms, yet can still potentially infect others.
- Encourage sick employees to stay home until they are no longer potentially contagious. If you do not have paid sick leave, consider implementing a policy for at least during the period of the current (and future) pandemics
- Limit travel and reduce group meetings, replacing them with conference calls
Balancing the human resource policies for the well being of employees with the overall business operations and objectives is not always an easy task during difficult times like the one we are currently facing. Having experts guide you through the process can make it much easier and improve the likelihood of a successful outcome. Since 1988, Total Team Solutions has provided human resource support to small businesses in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey and we could help you company get through the current coronavirus pandemic. For more information on our services, contact John Morlock at email@example.com or call him at 800-836-9678, ext. 5.