As states slowly begin to reopen, businesses must figure out how to keep workers and customers safe while simultaneously adhering to government guidelines and employment laws whilst trying to maximize profits. It is also the responsibility of workers to abide by the guidelines and remain as sanitary as possible.

 

5 Tips for Essential Workers

Essential workers are at risk to COVID-19 every time they report for duty, and they risk bringing the virus home and exposing their family to risk every time they return home. It’s a legitimate concern, and it can add to the stress essential workers feel as they do their part.

That’s why it’s important for essential workers to monitor and take care of both their mental and physical well-being. Here are some tips to provide some helpful guidance:

Wash Your Hands. Clean your hands before leaving work with soap and water, washing up to your elbows. When you get back home, immediately wash your hands as well. Lather for 20 seconds, about the length of the singing  “Happy Birthday” twice from beginning to end. Some healthcare professionals even advise showering immediately when returning home.

Keep Personal Items Away From Work Areas. Personal items, including your cell phone, should be stored in your locker or break room, away from areas where they can come into contact with other people. This reduces the likelihood of these items becoming contaminated. Also, always wash your hands before touching your phone, and disinfect your phone often – at least daily.

Ask for Support When You Need it. Your leaders and fellow workers are there to listen and support you. Your well-being is important, so don’t hesitate to seek out help, even if you simply need someone to extend an ear. That being said, if your coworkers look to you for help, make sure you are in the right mental state to provide them with the support they need.

Monitor Your Health. Monitor yourself for any symptoms of COVID-19 and take your temperature regularly. If you have a fever or are not feeling well, please do not go to work. You can look at the CDC’s website for more information about the symptoms of COVID-19.

Take Care of Yourself. Make sure to eat, sleep, and drink regularly. Take care of your mental health and make sure to take breaks when needed.

 

4 Tips for Reopening the Workplace

First and foremost, The CDC has posted 60 pages of detailed guidelines on how to reopen the United States from coronavirus pandemic stay-at-home orders. You can check out the document on CNN’s website. Click here for more information. Also, go to Guidelines for Opening Up America Again for more information.

Another helpful article to read is EY America’s “COVID-19 and pandemic planning: How companies should respond

Develop an action plan before opening. Determine priorities for preparing office space and clinical areas based on suggested guidelines for cleaning and sanitizing the workspace, and how long this process may take. Also, develop a new system for sterilization of the office, based on all available guidelines.

Rely on Experts. Pay attention to federal and state updates on guidelines. For example, the federal government recommended that employers develop and implement policies regarding things like temperature checks, social distancing, protective equipment, sanitation, travel, and disinfection of high-traffic and common areas. Even COVID-19 testing may fall into employers’ purview during the reopening.

Communicate Effectively. Especially when recalling employees, employers should give as much advance notice to workers as possible. Employers might want to consider requiring that workers provide a written acknowledgment of their intent to return to work for planning purposes. Recall notifications may prompt some workers to disclose their intent to take paid leave guaranteed under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Also, the letters should inform employees to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth; avoid collecting signatures for deliveries; stay home if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has lab-confirmed COVID-19.

Know that employees may be fearful of returning. Fear is an unavoidable obstacle we have to face. It’s important to be considerate about the fact that some of your employees might fall into vulnerable populations or if they might state that they are in some kind of emotional or mental distress.

 

Resources 

https://www.osfhealthcare.org/blog/essential-workers-how-to-protect-yourself-and-your-loved-ones/

https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/how-to-practice-covid-19-safety-when-reopening-your-retail-business.aspx

https://www.reviewofoptometry.com/article/20-tips-for-reopening-amid-covid19

https://www.hrdive.com/news/5-compliance-tips-for-reopening-the-workplace/577271/