The Coronavirus has been plaguing the U.S. for a few weeks now and many of us have been provided with the luxury of working from our own respective corners. However, not everyone has been so lucky. In fact, many businesses are struggling to find ways to compensate their employees, or allow them to work remotely when business doesn’t typically allow. Therefore, you might find yourself still going to work everyday amidst a pandemic. So, what steps can you take to protect yourself? Every job is different, as are the levels of exposure you face. But, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself when your employer might not be able to.
Coronavirus: Protection in the Workplace
Keeping your distance
The first, and most obvious, step in reducing risk of Coronavirus is to place distance between employees. For example, if you are working in an open office, maintain the 6 foot distancing from each employee that has been suggested by the CDC. Furthermore, as an employer, consider reducing the number of staff you have working in the office. There are likely duties that can be performed remotely. Whether it be answering phones, taking reservations or replying to emails— allow someone to take that responsibility home. The key during this difficult times is to find ways own which you can still utilize, and therefore pay, your employees.
Second of all, cleanings are vital for reducing the risk of spread. While this is a step you should always take within the work space, this is a time to pay extra mind to doing so. You might have someone who does weekly cleanings on a regular basis, but during the Coronavirus outbreak— consider nightly cleanings. Doorknobs, coffee pots, desk spaces, bathrooms… High-traffic areas are at the highest risk. When you are forced to keep people working, sanitized spaces can go a long way in terms of keeping your employees safe and healthy.
Reducing Non-Essential Staff
A key to creating that distance we discussed is to reduce non-essential staff within the workplace. Whether they are working from home or on leave— reducing risk of coronavirus comes down to reducing human contact. Furthermore, if you are able to eliminate contact altogether while still paying your staff— this is the ultimate goal. Not to mention, your higher risk staff should be a priority at this time. Whether they are older, immunocompromised, or fall into the other risk categories— as an employer, you have an ethical responsibility to your workers.
At the end of the day, the Coronavirus has put both employees and employers into a tough situation. As employers, we want to be able to do right by our employees both financially and in keeping them safe. As employees, we want the same thing but it is a little more uncertain from our end. For now, the best thing we can do is to plan our budget and to be mindful of how often we venture out of the house.