Millions of people here in Australia continue to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been tough for all of us here as well as everyone across the globe. When the pandemic broke out globally back in March, many organisations were forced to implement working from home arrangements to minimise the contagion and keep people safe. Now that some employees are going back to the office, what’s next?
Follow Government Guidelines
Federal and State Governments handed down requirements for offices to be deemed COVID safe. Here in New South Wales, those requirements are divided into three steps. First is to complete a COVID-19 safety plan. Next will be to register the business as COVID safe and then finally, display COVID safe posters all over the office to make your employees and customers feel safe and confident.
Employees working in the office must be at least 1.5 metres away from each other. Face masks are encouraged to be worn at all times. Everyone must practice good hygiene, especially by handwashing for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. You can also use alcohol or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Put up hand sanitizer stations all over the office.
Pre COVID-19, a simple cough or low fever wouldn’t have stopped you from going to work. This is not the case anymore. Inform your employees not to report to work if they are experiencing cough, fever, sore throat and shortness of breath. If these symptoms appear at work in one of your employees, send him or her home immediately. Also, a thermal gun is useful to check employees’ temperature as they come and go.
Keep Workstations Clean
This is for both employers and employees. Keep work desks clean at all times. For once, let us all be neat freaks to keep ourselves and our colleagues safe. Always have a tissue or wet wipes with you to clean surfaces and avoid having too much clutter on your desk.
Take Short Breaks
Tell your employees to take short breaks to do some light exercise or stretching. These easy activities improve the immune system to battle other conditions that can increase susceptibility to the contraction of COVID-19.
Get the Flu Vaccine
Encourage your employees to get vaccinated to fight off the flu. If you have the budget for it, why not cover the fee for them. Flu vaccinations are encouraged these days for all workers, especially those in direct contact with customers. A flu vaccine won’t protect you from contracting the COVID-19. However, it would help prevent influenza and make it easier to identify COVID-19 symptoms.
Encourage your employees to get tested. The New South Wales government is hoping to increase testing in the state. Especially for people within the age range of 18 to 35. This group has the highest rate of infections in the state. This is for everyone. The government is asking for your help. You can give a hand by posting a video on social media of yourself talking about why you got tested or would get tested. When you post that video, make sure to include the hashtag #Itest4NSW.
Establish a Crisis Team
A Crisis Team within HR will coordinate efforts and objectives amidst the crisis. This is something all organisations can practice beyond this pandemic.
Finally, inspire your employees to be responsible because it is if for their own sake, the sake of their colleagues, and the sake of their loved ones waiting for them at home.