Working out how to cope with COVID at work this winter isn’t easy because the data is conflicting. Are we going to have more deaths? More illness but fewer deaths? More flu and less COVID or more COVID and less flu?
With more local lockdowns happening and more schools shutting temporarily one thing’s for sure, no one knows what is going to happen.
If you’re planning how to cope with COVID at work this winter, we have some tips that might help.
If you have 25% absenteeism, can you still operate? What about 50%?
If nothing else, the last six months have shown us some new ways of dealing with a lack of people in the workplace. Some of these plans will still work as we approach winter, some won’t.
- Have you done as much as you can to cross-train people to carry out multiple roles?
- Test this cross training by rotating people now, rather than waiting for a crisis. Because you’ll find wrinkles in the process that need sorting out and this way you’ve got time.
- Are your IT systems up to the job? Can people easily access the information they need to do their job and the work they might be covering for someone else?
Can your employees work remotely?
If people are sick, they may be too sick to work. If they aren’t coming into work as a precaution they are fit to work if they have a job that they can do from home. Have you got the infrastructure to allow them to work from home? Have you got the security set up on your systems to prevent unauthorised access?
How will you manage employees who work remotely? It’s more challenging for managers when their people are not in the same place as them. Learning from businesses that regularly have remote or field-based workers
- Arrange a regular, even daily, call to have them update you on what they did yesterday, what they’re planning to do today.
- Think about team meetings using digital technology so that employees still feel part of a team.
- Because you’ve got dispersed workers, keeping them up to date with what’s going on in the wider business can be a challenge. Producing a weekly update on what’s happening, how the business is coping is a useful way of maintaining engagement with everyone but especially those working remotely
What procedures do you have in place to clean and decontaminate your physical environment ?
If you engage a commercial cleaning company, talk to them about changes in what they do and the frequency with which they do things. They may even offer deep cleaning services such as ozone sanitising. Using things like this demonstrates physically to employees that you are taking measure to keep them safe.
If you employ your own cleaning staff, you will be able to implement changes to their routines relatively easily. The Government Guidelines on cleaning work areas may be helpful when you are thinking about how to cope with COVID at work this winter. Think about your risk assessments for these employees and how you manage the risk to them when cleaning areas used by others. You may still need to buy in specialist services to deep clean.
Check service agreements with your installation and maintenance contractors. Maybe they’ll recommend additional service work to ensure that your systems are healthy.
How will you deal with anyone at work who becomes sick whilst at work?
Developing a process ahead of time will make reacting to this much smoother.
Think about how you’ll check each day on your employees’ health and exposure to the virus. We have clients who are using daily signing sheets to ask basic questions about symptoms but also asking who they’ve been in contact with.
If someone develops symptoms whilst at work they should tell you and immediately go home avoiding public transport if at all possible. If they have coronavirus symptoms, for example a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste they are entitled to receive SSP
You don’t have to send everybody else home just because someone has got symptoms but there are some basic things that you need to do.
If you need help planning how to cope with COVID at work this winter give us a call on 01706 565332 or use the contact form and we’ll come back to you straight away.
Metis HR is a professional HR Consultancy based in the North West of England supporting clients across the country. We specialise in providing outsourced HR services to small and medium-sized businesses. Call us now on 01706 565332 to discuss how we may help you.