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 three of our three-part series on returning to work safely during the pandemic.
- Establish a plan for when someone gets sick. Having an action plan may be the most important way to keep employees safe. Employees will have to affirm that they’re healthy before coming to work every day, and you’ll need a system to document that information. If someone becomes symptomatic during the workday, every business must have a plan to isolate that person and prevent them from coming into contact with others before they head into their isolation. It may be necessary to dismiss all other employees in the office first and require them to isolate until they can be tested.
In the event an employee takes ill, everyone who has come in contact with that person must be alerted. (The employee must also alert state and local health departments for contact tracing.) It’s important to protect the employee’s identity when alerting the staff, and also to express empathy for both the employee and their contacts. They will likely be scared – not to mention unwell – and concerned about the colleagues they may have infected. Be there for them, and make sure they know about the resources available to them through HR, your benefits, and other sources.
While many states do not require a shutdown of the workplace if one employee takes ill, it’s worthwhile to check with local health officials to determine best practices for your area.
If all this sounds daunting – and it might! – consider getting help. Services like those offered by I’m Healthy Today can help fill in the gaps in your in-house program, handling contact tracing, determining whether employees are healthy enough to come to work (or if they require testing), and when quarantined employees can safely return to work.
For most of us, this is the first pandemic in our lifetime. There is, understandably, a lot of confusion right now, and everyone is working to figure out the safest way to return to work – and general normalcy. What’s important right now is to consider what’s best for your employees, your customers, and your business, and to proceed with caution, empathy, and transparency. Remember that your team is probably uneasy about coming back, so assure them that you are taking every possible measure to keep them and their families safe.