How to Create a Safe Work Environment During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way companies do business and it shows no signs of slowing down. In November alone, there were more than 3 million new confirmed cases of the virus in the United States.
Since the spread isn’t stopping, employers need to do whatever they can to protect their employees and create a safe work environment every day. So, where do you start and how can you truly reduce the risk of your team getting sick?
Though there’s no way to completely eliminate the risk of exposure in the workplace, there are a few things you can do to keep the spread at bay. Here are a few proven tips to help you create a safe workplace as fast as possible.
Make Masks Mandatory
As a business owner, you’re free to make policies that dictate who can enter your facility and when. Use this to your advantage and implement a mandatory mask policy for all workers and clients visiting your business.
If anyone refuses to wear a mask without a valid and documented medical excuse, don’t allow them inside. To encourage mask-wearing, consider providing customers with disposable masks at the door and give employees a few reusable masks if you can.
The more accessible you can make the masks themselves, the easier it will be to get people to wear them throughout the day.
Give Employees Access to Sanitizers
It’s well-known that hand sanitizers are a great way to kill germs and bacteria on your hands. If your team members can’t get away from their work area frequently to wash their hands in warm water, make sure they have access to hand sanitizer at all times.
Leave larger pumps in break areas and common rooms. If you can, provide employees with pocket-sized containers of hand sanitizer so they can always have it on hand.
The easier it is for them to access hand sanitizer, the more often your team will be willing to use it.
Encourage Frequent Hand Washing
Though hand sanitizer works well, washing your hands is always best. This is the easiest way to keep germs at bay.
Encourage your employees to wash their hands often. If they need to step off the floor to give their hands a good scrub down, let them. They may end up spending slightly less time working but they’ll be safer and able to better maintain their health as a result.
Remember, it’s always best to lose a little productivity throughout the day than it is to lose an employee for weeks on end.
Clean Throughout the Day, Every Day
Like it or not, every person that enters your building brings in germs with them. If you’re trying to reduce your team’s exposure to COVID-19, you’ll want to stay on top of those germs every day.
Get in the habit of cleaning all frequently touched surfaces throughout the day. Use an approved cleaner and disinfectant to sanitize those surfaces as often as possible.
If you don’t have time to do this yourself, break the job up into smaller bits. Assign certain employees to clean specific surfaces at designated times. The more you can break things up, the easier it will be for you to keep your business safe and clean.
Schedule Regular Disinfection Services
Though general cleaning is helpful, it’s not enough to completely disinfect your facility and keep your team safe from the coronavirus. You need to bring in a dedicated cleaning service to help out.
Schedule an appointment with a local office disinfection service at least once a week. They’ll be able to clean the entire office space thoroughly, leaving you with a safe office environment.
Just make sure that the company you hire is able to address your concerns about workplace sanitation and the coronavirus. Standard office cleaning isn’t going to be enough. You’ll need a sanitation specialist to get rid of COVID-19.
Space Workers Out
Social distancing, especially in enclosed environments is essential to preserving worker health and wellbeing. Instead of letting employees congregate the way they did before the pandemic, put limits in place.
Encourage all team members and visitors to stay at least six feet apart at all times. Put capacity limits on shared spaces like break rooms, kitchens, and meeting spaces.
The fewer people you have gathering together, the better off your team will be.
Improve Your Sick Leave Policies
One of the biggest contributors to the spread of any virus is sick employees coming to work. Be honest with yourself and think about why those employees feel compelled to come in when they’re not feeling well. Is it because they love what they do or is it because they fear retribution if they call out?
Review your company’s sick leave policies. If you have a limit on the number of shifts an employee can call out for before facing some type of punishment, get rid of that limit.
Your employees need to know that they should call out if they think they have COVID-19 or were recently exposed to the virus. Never pressure someone to come into work if they’re worried about their positivity status.
Consider Weekly Testing
Knowledge is power when it comes to preventing the spread of COVID-19 and creating a safe workplace. If your business relies on employees coming in every day rather than working from home, consider implementing a testing schedule.
Let employees get tested each week and review the results as soon as they come in. The sooner you can catch a possible positive case, the easier it will be to isolate those that may have gotten exposed.
Creating a Safe Work Environment Is a Must
As a responsible employer, you know that creating a safe work environment is the best way to keep your employees safe. Implement these tips as soon as possible. The sooner you do, the easier it will be to keep your team safe and healthy.
Remember, putting your employees first is the best way to encourage them to stay with your business for years to come. The longer they stay with your company, the easier it will be for you to grow with confidence.
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