Winter is flu season, and we all have to take a little bit more care about germs. This year, as we experience a winter surge of COVID-19, we have to be even more careful. To protect employees—and their families—business have to think carefully about who else can enter the workplace and what precautions visitors must take.
Creating a COVID Workplace Visitor Policy
If you can have a remote-first workforce, great. But the reality for many industries is that for business to operate, employees need to be physically present in the workplace. To keep them safe, you should be promoting social distancing at work and staff should not be present if they are suffering from symptoms, have tested positive or have recently been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive.
A policy on the successful management of visitors will combine the same level of seriousness when it comes to social distancing with clear messaging so visitors know exactly what they can and can’t do.
Some aspects to cover include:
- Restrictions Based on Visitors Health
It might seem obvious, but it’s important to put in writing the fact that visitors won’t be permitted to enter the building if they have tested positive for COVID-19. This should also apply to those who are experiencing symptoms, have recently returned from a high-risk area or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
- Entry Procedure and Screening
In order to ensure that visitor policy is applied successfully, you may request that all visitors first report to reception to check-in. At this point you could have visitors fill in a form establishing whether they are high risk, for instance if they have recently returned from travel abroad. You may also wish to screen for symptoms using temperature testing.
- Limited Number of visitors
A big part of enabling social distancing is to limit the number of people in any given space at once, and this applies just as much to visitors as employees. If possible, you should schedule visitors to prevent a rush, and you may wish to limit the number of visitors in any single group.
- Face Masks at Work
By now, the benefits of masks are well known. On June 28, the CDC reissued their guidance on face masks, reiterating the importance of the role they play in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Any workplace mask policy you have in place should apply equally to visitors. If necessary, you should offer a free supply of masks to those who arrive without their own.
- Social Distance Policy
Just as visitors should be obliged to abide by any workplace rules for mask-wearing, they should also be expected to follow any social distancing policy. Make sure all visitors know that they should maintain a distance of 6 feet from others whenever possible. If certain spaces or areas in your workplace have limits on occupancy or are off limits altogether, this should be made clear.
- No Handshakes
For the duration of the pandemic, norms are changing. It might feel wrong to have a business meeting without handshakes, but for everyone’s safety this is best practice.
Access COVID-19 Visitor Policy Template
When it comes to the safety of your employees and your community, businesses can’t afford to make mistakes. To help SMBs, Paycor is offering a free, downloadable COVID Visitor Policy template.