How Businesses Should Handle The Coronavirus Outbreak
April 02, 2020
The outbreak of Coronavirus is now more than news. It has been ravaging countries around the world and also causing a global threat to the health and safety conditions of other countries. This virus has recorded a huge number of deaths. The World Health Organization has put in place specific and strategic health and safety measures while working closely with the health regulation body in the countries the virus has been present in. The infected cities in China have been quarantined, flight schedules have been cancelled, and thermal reading devices are being used by airport authorities to detect elevated body temperatures that might indicate infection.
With the massive number of infected persons and the death toll increasing every day, it is not possible for The World Health Organization to also take up the responsibility of interfering with how companies approach curtailing this virus from within their establishments. This is the time the Human Resources Department must step up.
This article will address how corporate establishments, both large and small, can keep their employees safe and free from infection and will suggest ways in which Human Resources can take specific measures to ensure the safety and health of their employees.
Communicating the Right Information Through the Different Channels
It is the responsibility of management personnel and the HR Department of an establishment to ensure that they garner all the current information about the coronavirus, educate their employees, and also put up a guide that will not only talk about the virus and how it came to be and how it can be contracted, but also to spell out different safety precautions to be taken to avoid being infected.
Such information must be gotten from reliable and proven sources so that accurate content will be passed across all departments in the company. This will stop the employees from spreading false information about the virus that could cause unnecessary panic.
Setting up Operational Work Strategies
This is the time that the need to make work more simple is called for. In this case, employees can use communication technology to carry out their daily routines while maintaining physical separation. Computers can be used to create a work-from-home system that allows employees to perform their office duties and have it submitted at designated times.
When there is a need for board or staff meetings, video conferencing can be implemented, and for small businesses, there are numerous video meeting apps on the internet that can be utilized for this purpose. Some businesses might have the financial capacity to purchase video meeting platforms or customized apps, however, for businesses that might not be able to afford that, there are other free apps that can also be used.
These methods of remote working are critical in order to avoid contracting and spreading the virus through human contact. By applying this strategy into work plans, it becomes a win-win situation—employees avert contact with the virus by not interacting with each other and also reduce the possibility of contracting and spreading the virus to family members as well as to strangers while in transport to and from work via public buses or bus stations.
Working off-location might not be possible for some positions, as they may require using something essential to their job and only accessible to them at their workplace to carry out their activities. In those situation, management personnel of the business must ensure the safety of their employees by providing face masks and making sure they keep their personal hygiene intact, use hand sanitizers that are alcohol based, and remain distanced from others as much as possible.
Granting Leave to Staff
Employers are expected to make sure that employees that are beginning to show symptoms of being sick go on leave to treat themselves and protect their coworkers. This will save rumor-mongering amongst staff and prevent them from panicking. If suitable, the symptomatic employee can still work remotely from his/her residence while receiving treatment. This will also allow the sick employee to keep in touch with their coworkers, giving them hope and love instead of creating total isolation or making them feel discriminated against just because they are sick.
Monitoring Travel Activities
For companies that are multinational with their branches spread across the globe, the HR Department must ensure that they keep tabs on their staff who might be travelling to countries where the virus may be present. This is the time for such companies to implement a global health management framework for their business and staff that will be travelling and ensure that no non-essential travel occurs.
The Human Resources Department is also advised to:
- Check for staff that might not be complying with mandated health safety measures
- Curtail the exposure of employees by eliminating gatherings in crowded places like the company's cafeteria
- Using thermal scanners to check staff temperatures every day as they work
- Improve their environmental sanitation