Net Trade’s Series on Keeping Employees Safe at Work
As we return to the office, the store, the classroom – wherever “work” is – concerns abound regarding employee safety. Yes, everyone needs to wear a mask, stay six feet apart, and wash their hands frequently, but what other methods can we employ to keep our teams (and ourselves) safe at work? Read part one of our three-part series on returning to work safely during the pandemic.
- First and most obviously, implement a reasonable policy around attendance. If someone feels sick, they must stay home. It’s not enough to just say this is the policy – it really needs to be encouraged.
Everyone has probably worked with “heroes,” those folks who come to work with 102-degree fevers because they’re so dedicated to the job, they won’t miss a day – or even a meeting – due to illness. This kind of behavior should never have been celebrated, and it certainly shouldn’t be now. Employees should be encouraged to work at home all the time, if they can, and praised for staying home with anything resembling COVID symptoms. These may include low-grade fevers, scratchy throats, or coughs and congestion that are unrelated to allergies or other known conditions.
This can be challenging for hourly employees, but even for these staffers, reasonable policies should be in place – especially if they (or anyone in their household) is sick.
- Thoroughly clean all spaces, surfaces, etc. By now we all know that coronavirus is spread by droplets, and that those droplets can survive in the air and on surfaces – and that means a thoroughly cleaned space is a safer space. Frequent disinfection of surfaces that are touched by multiple people is critically important in reducing the spread of the virus. Per the CDC:
Disinfectants kill germs on surfaces. By killing germs on a surface after cleaning, you can further lower the risk of spreading infection. EPA-approved disinfectants are an important part of reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19. If disinfectants on this list are in short supply, alternative disinfectants can be used (for example, 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water, or 70% alcohol solutions).
In offices, desks, keyboards, mice, and monitors should be disinfected at least daily. Customer countertops, kiosks and payment systems should be cleaned much more often. Review this CDC document and develop an appropriate plan. Many offices are keeping disinfectants, paper towels, and antibacterial wipes in the office for employees to use throughout the day. This is an important measure that every organization should implement.
Stay tuned for more in this series how to keep your employees safe at work!