10 Ways to Protect Your Employees From COVID-19

There are two things you have to take care of as a business owner during COVID-19: your company and your employees. Many are so concerned about the former that they neglect the needs of the latter.

COVID-19 has been a scary time for your team. Job security, personal health, and social cohesion are all serious concerns. 

The best you can do during these uncertain times? Protect them from COVID-19. Here are 10 ways to do it:

Symptom Screening

Develop a routine that requires employees to be checked for signs of COVID-19 before they’re allowed to clock in to work. This will prevent employees from accidentally exposing each other to the virus.

Instead of rattling off a list of screening questions over and over again, get a COVID screening tool to help you check on your team each morning. At the very least, do a temperature check; send anyone with a temperature of 100.4 Fahrenheit or higher home immediately.

Mask Mandate

Making masks mandatory can go a long way in stopping the transmission of COVID-19. Masks prevent droplets from coughs and sneezes from spreading into new mouths and noses. They’re also a highly visible reminder to act cautiously in public places.

Just as important as enforcing mask-wearing among employees is doing so with customers. Provide disposable masks at the door. Don’t allow entry without one to keep everybody safe.

Frequent Cleaning

To keep germs at bay, wipe down surfaces at least once an hour. Work spaces should get the majority of your attention, but don’t forget to clean common areas as well. If employees prepare food in your break room, make sure the countertops and handles stay clean. 

Stock up on disinfecting wipes and sprays. Appoint a cleaner-in-chief to keep surfaces spotless. Ask this person to do a deep clean at least once a day, ideally before your office opens. If that isn’t feasible, encourage them to clean the building after you close. 

Paid Sick Leave

The fear of lost income may lead your employees to make risky decisions, including showing up for work while experiencing minor symptoms of COVID-19. To help them recover and keep others safe, alter your PTO policies.

Make clear that employees will be paid for any periods they may need to spend in quarantine. Don’t require them to dip into their regular PTO budget for these days off. Explain that no consequences will be imposed when ill employees return. Make sure mental health is included in this policy: Someone who simply needs a break from the stress should be accommodated. 

Contact Tracing

When a positive case is recorded, health officials perform what’s known as contact tracing. In short, they try to determine when and to whom an infected person may have passed the virus. 

If one of your employees receives a positive COVID-19 test, your cooperation is critical for effective contract tracing. Work with authorities to figure out who the infected individual may have interacted with or been near, including customers and fellow employees. 

Take a “better safe than sorry” approach. The sooner potentially exposed employees test negative, the sooner they can climb back in the saddle. The same is true of potentially infected customers.

Social Distancing

Helping people keep their distances from each other reduces close contacts and, as a result, cuts down on Covid-19 transmission. To enable social distancing, you may need to make some changes to the layout of your workspace.

Desks should be spaced at least six feet apart from each other. Pathways can be laid down to keep foot traffic away from employees’ desks. 

If your business has walk-in customers, place stickers six feet apart to show patrons where to stand. You may need to set a limit on how many people can be in the building at once. 

Air Circulation

Proper ventilation is a less-known method for reducing the spread of COVID-19. Air circulation prevents viral clouds from building up.

Now is a good time to make sure your HVAC system is in good shape. These systems need regular cleaning and maintenance to move air effectively.

Ideally, you should also keep your windows open. If you don’t have windows, or if winter weather would make opening them unpleasant, place fans throughout the building. 

Premise Inspection

If you’re not sure what more you can do to protect your team from Covid-19, invite a member of your local health department to take a look. A trained eye can spot things you’d never have considered, making the space safer for your team.

If you have a storefront, for example, you probably take multiple forms of payment. An inspector may suggest adding a sign that promotes touchless transactions. 

Not only do touchless transactions keep your team and your customers safer, but they make your business more efficient. Faster checkouts make it possible for you to serve more customers. 

Remote Work

There’s no place safer from COVID-19 than the home. If your employees don’t need to be in the office to get their jobs done, sending them home to work is one of your best options for protecting them from the virus. 

Need another reason to try remote work? Remote team members are actually more productive than their in-office peers. Just be sure to check in with them regularly; work-from-home burnout is a bigger problem than many assumed it would be at the beginning of the pandemic.

Technology Upgrades

Now is the perfect time to make sanitation-focused upgrades to your office. Zero-touch handwashing stations and hand dryers can help people exit the restroom with truly clean hands. Hand sanitizer dispensers placed throughout your office are also a good idea.

Whatever you choose, do it with safety in mind. Just because a piece of equipment looks cool is not reason enough to invest in it.

Protecting your team and customers should be your top priority during this time. Caring for them is not only the right thing to do, but will promote employee retention and brand awareness. In other words, your company’s health depends on it.