For the past couple of months, many workplaces have been shut down temporarily because of the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The virus can spread by having contact with infected droplets that an infected person can release through sneezing, coughing, speaking and exhaling. These droplets can also stay on surfaces for a long time and when touched, it can get into the body if one touches their face.
In the coming months, many countries will be easing their restrictions thus allowing more workplaces to open. However, it must be done with caution as we do not want to trigger another wave of infection when we just barely managed to flatten the curve. Everybody needs to pull their ranks and play their part, including businesses.
Hence, if you are a business owner, to prevent the spread of the virus in your workplace and be ready for the virus, here are some ways to do so:
Have workplaces regularly disinfected and cleaned
Always keep reminding your employees to disinfect their work stations regularly with alcohol or antibacterial wipes.
Wipe down table, computer, mobile phone and other things they have touched or used throughout the day. They should also clean it if someone has touched or used their stuff even for a short period of time.
Besides keeping your own work stations clean, have the cleaning company to increase their cleaning routine as well.
Promote regular hand washing and disinfection
A good way to combat the virus is by regularly washing your hands with soap or disinfecting them with alcohol or hand sanitiser.
Equipped your workplace with bottles of hand sanitiser placed in strategic positions like areas with the most human traffic ie. lifts, pantry, meeting rooms.
Practice good respiratory hygiene
While at work, you and your employees should wear a mask or face shields, especially if they will be speaking to each other during meetings or team building.
Teach your team the proper way of putting it on and off, and if they are using a disposable mask, make sure to replace them every 5 hours or as directed.
If you feel like you need to sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a paper tissue or your handkerchief. Dispose the paper tissue accordingly and disinfect any area that it touched.
Check the national guidelines for business trips during this time
If your employee needs to go for an essential business trip, check with the government with regards to business travel guidelines during the pandemic. You may be required to get a travel permit before you can do business trips.
You will also need to check with the arrival country on their entry and departure guidelines. Nobody wants to be stranded in a foreign country during this time so if travels can be postpone until later this year, try to do so.
Educate your employees about COVID-19
If your employees are still confused about the virus and what to do when the virus spreads in the community, do your best to explain it yourself. You can use the government’s COVID-19 resources to assist you in your efforts.
You can also reach out to conduct a special lecture on the virus and what can be done to prevent it, as well as how to act when a reported case is in the community or workplace.
Stagger Your Workforce
Instead of the normal office hours like pre-Covid days, stagger your employees to come into the office at different times and days.
A department can split into 5 to 7 groups of small clusters like these:
– Group 1 to report to work Monday to Friday 7am to 4pm
– Group 2 to report to work Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm
– Group 3 to report to work Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm
– Group 4 to report to work Monday to Friday 10 am to 7pm
– Group 5 to report to work Tuesday to Saturday 7am to 4pm
– Group 6 to report to work Wednesday to Sunday 8am to 5pm
– Group 7 to report to work Saturday to Wednesday 9am to 6pm
– Group 8 to report to work Sunday to Thursday 10 am to 7pm
You can rotate them to be fair to everyone. Or get everyone to pick one weekday to be their off days. Not everyone prefers to be on off on Saturdays and Sundays.
Practice Social Distancing whenever possible
Space their work desk to away from each other. The further the better but 1 metre is the recommended physical space. Advice your employees not to gather during lunch time and if possible, stagger their lunch time as well.
If there are any team building events like company dinner or party, it is better to push them back until end of this year or early next year. You don’t want it to be known as the Killer Party of the Year.
Continue to Promote Remote Working
If it is possible, continue to allow your staff to work from home. It is of a lesser business risk to have most of your employees work from home than to have one infected case in your workplace that may result in a shut down for 14 days.
You can assume that this arrangement will probably be the new norm now until a vaccine is found or the infection is no longer threatening. Many international companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter are now exploring to maintain work from home structure in the long run.
In these uncertain times, you can never tell when the virus can strike. Fortunately, everyone is now on high alert and there are ways to prevent its continuous spread. With these simple tips, you can definitely prevent it from spreading in your workplace and putting everyone’s health at risk.
For more Covid-19 related articles, you can find them here:
Covid-19: Malaysia Movement Control Order Announcement – Biggest Impact will be Workers
Covid-19: Employees asked to Take Unpaid Leave by Companies
Covid-19 Outbreak: What are Companies doing right by their employees
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