How to Create a Safe Work Environment for Employees Who Can’t Work From Home
How to Create a Safe Work Environment for Employees Who Can’t Work From Home

How to Create a Safe Work Environment for Employees Who Can’t Work From Home

In the face of mounting COVID-19 infections in the United States, many companies are asking their employees to work from home. But what about employees in the airline industry, retail, medical, supply chain, transportation services, personal services, dining, hospitality, etc.? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 29% of the workforce has the ability to work from home.

Instead of potentially putting their employees at risk, many major businesses, including Nike, Apple and Lush Cosmetics, are temporarily shuttering their retail shops through the end of March. These companies have a very strong online presence, but not all businesses can afford to take that financial hit. If your company is planning to weather the storm and you have employees who are required to work on-site, the first step is to do everything you can to help guarantee their safety.

Go the Extra Mile to Keep Things Clean and Maintain as Much Social Distance as You Can

Ensuring that your place of business is sanitized is critically important to the health of your employees and customers.

Tips for keeping things germ-free during the Coronavirus pandemic include:

  • Hand sanitizers, alcohol wipes and bleach are your best friends during a pandemic. So is plain old washing up with soap and water. In fact, experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that washing your hands with soap for 20 seconds is more effective than using alcohol-based sanitizer. You can sing The Birthday Song or any other song you want as long as it’s 20 seconds long.

  • Deep clean your facility, including doors, desks and other flat surfaces, telephones, cash registers and keyboards, credit card machines, warehouse equipment. After you’re fully sanitized, institute a handwashing or hand sanitizing policy for employees. Once every hour is ideal, more frequently if employees are in very close contact to others.

  • Monitor your employees’ health. Have easy access to a couple of digital thermometers. If someone looks unwell or has symptoms similar to COVID-19, have them take their temperature. If they have a fever, send them home and don’t allow them to return until they either test negative or complete the 14-day incubation period.

  • Social distancing has been proven to reduce the spread of the virus. If possible, maintain a 6-foot radius around each employee. Move desks and workstations if necessary.

  • If you run a restaurant, consider offering delivery and curbside pick-up service rather than face-to-face full service. Note that some states and cities (Ohio, Illinois, Hoboken, New Jersey) are already making this a requirement.

  • Adjust work shifts to reduce the number of employees in the facility at any given time.

  • If employees feel sick or show symptoms of coronavirus, employers should encourage them to contact their healthcare provider and stay at home.

This is a whole new world for all of us. Taking steps to help your employees stay healthy lets them know you care and can go a long way toward improving morale and keeping everyone safe.

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