updated - November 23, 2020 Monday EST
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll across the world and continues to sweep countries far and wide, leading to countless new infections and tragic deaths on a daily basis. Nevertheless, in many parts of the world, economies are being reopened and businesses are starting back up again, meaning that many people who have spent weeks or months in isolation at home are now faced with the prospect of getting back to work.
This is naturally quite a daunting prospect for many, and surveys show that a lot of workers across America still feel that there are a lot of risks associated with this process. Over 60% of workers say that the risks of contracting the virus outweigh the benefits of being back in the office, and 50% of workers oppose a staggered reintroduction. Still, many businesses simply have to open to survive, but there are plenty of steps employers can take to protect their workers.
The first and most obvious step for any employer or business owner looking to get people back to work in the safest possible way during these troubling times is to keep up with the official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance and follow it accordingly.
The guidance will change over time, and as one of the leading health organizations on the planet, the CDC is well-equipped to offer actionable, evidence-backed advice and guidelines for employers to follow. By sticking to these guidelines, you'll be giving your employees the best chance of staying safe each day.
Social distancing has been introduced by authorities and governments all over the world in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus, and the positive effects are clear to see. By limiting how close we get to one another, we can help to reduce the spread of the virus.
Naturally, in tight, cramped office environments, maintaining distances of six feet between every worker might seem difficult, but there are always ways around it. Desks can be moved, additional spaces can be utilized, and your management teams can come up with ways to help everyone stay safe. Without social distancing, the likelihood of the virus spreading around the office will increase.
Official government guidelines for preparing workplaces during COVID-19 consistently and repeatedly emphasize the importance of cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. The virus can linger on surfaces like desks, doorknobs, and guard rails, passing from one person to another in this way and spreading more quickly.
This is why regular cleaning is so important, and the best possible option is to make use of hospital-grade disinfectant and cleaning products around your workspaces regularly, throughout the day. This is particularly important in businesses that have customers in and out on a daily basis, as shoppers may be touching various surfaces, so be sure to clean as often as you can.
It's absolutely vital during these difficult times for employers and people in positions of power to act quickly and responsibly when action is required. We've seen from reports and cases across the globe how quickly this virus can spread across entire countries, so it can very easily spread all over your office or place of work without rapid responses.
So, if a colleague or employee starts showing symptoms of COVID-19, be sure to take action straight away and send them home immediately. Any employees who have been exposed to that individual should also be sent home and asked to isolate to check whether symptoms develop. Additionally, any employees who have been in contact with COVID-19 patients or visited COVID-19 affected locations should self-isolate for the recommended 14 days before getting back to work.
It's important to remember that this is a difficult and stressful time for many workers. Not only are so many people being affected by this virus directly, but many others are experiencing higher levels of stress, worries, and fears associated with the indirect effects of the pandemic's spread.
People are confused, scared about losing their jobs, and frightful of catching the virus or passing it to others. Employers are advised to show empathy with their employees, listen to their concerns, make adjustments if necessary to help everyone feel safe, and understand those who may be able to work remotely and would prefer to do so.
Getting people back to work is important to the success of many businesses, but it's vital for employers to make the health of their employees a primary concern. These tips should help you create a safe working environment for all.
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