With the ever-growing rate of persons infected with the coronavirus, there is a great need for the workplace to implement best health practices.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
With it first identified in 2019 in Wuhan, China, it has since spread globally and declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The common symptoms associated with the COVID-19 includes:
- shortness of breath,
- Muscle pain,
- Sputum production
- Sore throat.
While the majority of cases result in mild symptoms, some progress to severe pneumonia and multi-organ failure.
The infection is typically spread from one person to another via respiratory droplets produced during coughing and sneezing.
CORONAVIRUS AND HOW IT IMPACTS THE WORKPLACE
When global health emergencies take place, they often bring to light breach within the workplace. It is pertinent that organizations can identify them and make improvements to protect their employees in the event of another global health occurrence.
According to Forbes; in 2016, the flu season was estimated to cost $5.8 billion in health care and lost productivity costs, while the swine flu in 2009 had an estimated economic loss range from 0.5 to 1.5% of GDP (gross domestic product) on affected countries.
It is therefore imperative that we share ways in which coronavirus (Covid-19) might impact the future of the workforce and how organizations can build a successful, healthy and productive organization.
While some economies have embraced the idea of telecommuting, some are yet to adopt this system. Flexjobs notes that 91% of remote work has grown over the last decade and with how delicate the situation is, more organizations will be forced to embrace this means.
Most large organizations make remote work an easy option because they have the infrastructure to support it, and providing this option makes it easy for them to attract top talent. It is therefore imperative to build the organization’s capability to offer remote work and there are also advantages to this option;
- When employees should request the need or prefer to work from home, they usually appreciate the opportunity.
- Reduced costs for the employer employees often provide their means of getting the job done eg( Telephone, Laptops, Internet).
- The employer also saves on the cost of office space.
- It provides the employer with the ability to employ individuals who through disability are unable to travel to a workplace.
Other means of communication to get work done in and out of office include:
Asana is arguably the best when it comes to task and project management. The project management tool is great for teams as one can be able to seamlessly create project workflows and create tasks which can be assigned to members within your team.
With the added benefit of being able to add notes, upload files, and set deadlines for tasks.
Zoom is an enterprise-level, all-in-one collaboration tool with a small business price tag. It offers video and web conferencing solutions as well as a cross-platform instant messaging and file-sharing features.
Zoom lets users hold all types of online meetings, such as one-on-one video conferences, town hall meetings, training, webinars and marketing events. The service can be used on desktops, mobile devices, and your company’s video and conference room systems. A developer platform is available to integrate Zoom features – such as video, voice and screen sharing – with apps your business already uses.
If you need a basic, easy-to-use web conferencing solution, GoToMeeting can get you started immediately. Its one-click meeting feature enables to quickly schedule meetings straight from Outlook or Google Calendar. In addition to HD videoconferencing, GoToMeeting comes with dozens of useful tools to make your meetings more productive and interactive. These include screen sharing, web audio, a dial-in conference line, drawing tools and the ability to record meetings.
Slack brings all types of communication of an organization together — project or topic-specific conversations, collaboration, file sharing, and more. It also easily integrates with all other tools that you may be already using, making it a versatile and seamless experience for the team.
Clockify is an accurate productivity software tool on the market that can be used to track the number of time an employee is spending on specific tasks and projects. It’s a simple time tracker and timesheet app that lets you and your team track work hours across projects.
For organizations whose countries are less affected or with a record of low cases, protective measures must be put in place to ensure the environment is safe and tidy and prevalence of the virus is minimal.
- Make sure your workplaces are clean and hygienic
- Surfaces (e.g. desks and tables)
- objects (e.g. telephones, keyboards) need to be wiped with disinfectant regularly because contamination on surfaces touched by employees and customers is one of the main ways that COVID-19 spreads
- Promote regular and thorough hand-washing by employees, contractors and customers. (60 seconds recommended)
- Put sanitizing hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the workplace, and ensure these dispensers are regularly refilled
- Promote good respiratory hygiene in the workplace
- Ensure that face masks and/or paper tissues are available at your workplaces, for those who develop a runny nose or cough at work, alongside closed bins for hygienically disposing of them
- Anyone with even a mild cough or low-grade fever (37.3 C or more) needs to stay at home. Encourage work from home if they have had to take simple medications, such as paracetamol/acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin, which may mask symptoms of infection
- Encourage employees to wash their hands regularly and stay at least one meter away from people who are coughing or sneezing
- Develop a contingency and business continuity plan for an outbreak in the communities where your business operates. The plan will help prepare your organization for the possibility of an outbreak of COVID-19 in its workplaces or community. It may also be valid for other health emergencies
UNLIMITED SICK LEAVE
Before the coronavirus outbreak, data suggests that 90% of employees have admitted to coming to work when ill. These sick employees are reported to be less productive than engaged and healthy employees.
Organizations should update their sick leave policy to accommodate the health needs of your employees. Create a plan that extends sick leave based upon the severity, or, offer only unlimited sick days and stick with your current paid time off plan; because healthy employees lead to a healthy business.
The business environment is just one of many institutions that are not creating an environment that supports their employees taking space to heal when they face illness.
Now is the time to prepare for COVID-19. Simple precautions and planning can make a big difference in protecting your employees and growing your business.