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How to Balance Employee Health with Business Productivity

How to Balance Employee Health with Business Productivity

Traditionally, when you talk about employee health, issues come up about health insurance and workplace safety. With the COVID-19 pandemic six months old, new considerations have to be made. The pandemic has caused many businesses to reassess the way they go about doing things to ensure that their workforces aren’t exposed to the virus, and that employees can handle their jobs with the pressures brought forth by the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Today, we’ll review some of the considerations business owners have to make to keep their workforces safe. 

The Spread of COVID-19

For the average business, the pandemic hit and hit hard. Some businesses simply didn’t have the liquid capital to keep their doors open and closed as a result. Some took advantage of government-sponsored programs that allowed them to operate in some capacity as lawmakers figured out how to deal with the situation. Six months in, many of these businesses are back open for business--not necessarily business-as-usual--but, they are making due. With no end to the pandemic in sight, today’s companies, especially small businesses that don’t have a lot of capital, need to take inventory and do what’s best for their business’ sustainability. 

It is important that every organization’s decision makers understand that if they are going to do business, and employ people to facilitate that business, that it is their responsibility to do what they can to help protect their staff from getting sick. People have heard it all since the beginning of the pandemic, but how many people have actually paid attention when it comes to protecting others? The spread of this virus has kept millions of people from returning to work, either because their jobs have gone or because they are immunodeficient and risk death if they were to contract the COVID-19 virus. 

How COVID-19 Spreads

By now, most of us are familiar with how the coronavirus spreads. It is transmitted through close contact with a carrier of the virus. People can also be exposed through exposure to an infected person’s respiratory droplets from when a person coughs or sneezes. There have been cases where people have come down with it by touching hard surfaces in which the virus lives, but these are rare. Unfortunately, most carriers who are asymptomatic are still contagious; but, are most likely to spread the virus when showing symptoms. For the most current data about the transmission of COVID-19, you’ll want to visit the CDC’s website here

What Moves Can Businesses Make?

Business owners need to have a plan if they expect to keep their employees safe from COVID-19.  This isn’t just because they have a responsibility to do what they can to keep their staff out of harm’s way. People don’t do their best work when they are anxious. This has been proven over and over again. If you expect your employees to be productive while they are at work, you need to insulate them as best you can from the possibility of coming down with COVID-19. Here are some things you can do to help calm employee fears: 

  1. Make sure employee workspaces are clean - You will want to scrub surfaces with hot water and disinfectant regularly. Having disinfectant wipes available for phones, keyboards, door knobs, and the like is a good practice.
  2. Make sure employees are washing their hands - Disinfectant soap kills the SARS-CoV-2. Make sure they know the importance of washing their hands, and how it works to kill off potential contaminations. 
  3. Offer hand sanitizer - You will want to have hand sanitizer with high alcohol content available around your workplace.
  4. Wear masks - Wearing a mask is proven to reduce the amount of droplets that could pass through the air and onto surfaces. 
  5. Keep travel to a minimum - If you normally have people on the road, shift some things around to allow them to do that work remotely. 
  6. Educate your employees - Make sure that you make it clear that if your employees start to show symptoms of being ill, they are in no way expected in the workplace. Until this situation is over, it will be important to manage risk.

As of this writing, the economy hasn’t rebounded and millions of workers are still out of work. If you are going to stay in business, you will need to be more flexible than you’ve ever been; and, even then you are facing a difficult situation. 

If you want to talk to our IT experts about how to take advantage of remote work solutions to keep your business running during this difficult time, call us today at (703) 821-8200.

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