In light of recent statistics for COVID-19 cases in America, the U.S. has quickly become the epicenter for the novel Coronavirus. Despite these numbers, many industry leaders are rushing back to opening businesses in efforts to restart cash flow and push towards making life more normal again. The prioritization of employee’s health and safety — and taking care of your employees — should be at the forefront.

As employees continue to work on the front lines of this pandemic, they face multiple risks. A major risk being contracting this virus and essentially, putting their lives on the line. Although many businesses and organizations are putting their best foot forward to ensure the safety of their employees, the following three measures should be emphasized to effectively take care of your employees.

1. Teach Employees Proper Workplace Sanitation

To train your employees for a COVID-centric world, and also protect them, implementing proper workplace sanitation is essential.

As we have seen throughout this pandemic, many of our former sanitation practices simply won’t cut it today. The main priority, as businesses reopen, is to ensure that both staff and customers are safe  within your establishment. With that being said, the best way to keep everyone happy and healthy is to take sanitation very seriously. As you train your employees, emphasize the importance of workplace sanitation and provide information about when, and how often, the workplace needs to be cleaned.

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in order to properly clean and sanitize your establishment, you must follow these procedures:

  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting
  • Clean with soap and water initially, then proceed with a disinfectant
  • Frequently sanitize touched surfaces or highly-touched items

Be sure to train your employees to also clean any highly-touched items and surfaces; this may not simply be merchandise or checkout keypads. For example, they should thoroughly clean tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, any handles, phones, keyboards, and entire bathrooms.

By highlighting the necessity for proper sanitation, you as a business owner are inadvertently prioritizing the health and safety of your employees. When you take care of your employees, it makes it easier for them to perform their jobs. This also helps them stay focused on their daily tasks, especially during this uncertain time.

2. Educate Employees on Hand Washing Guidelines

Since the beginning of this pandemic, there has been a heavy emphasis on proper hand washing techniques. Although the initial urgency of hand washing has died down, correct hand washing could save an employee or customer’s life.

Employees sanitize the establishment as customers come into contact with them; hand washing should be a top priority. As a business owner, thorough hand washing should be diligently emphasized and expected of employees. Allow employees leave their work area to wash their hands when finished conducting business with a customer. Washing your hands is an efficient, quick and cost-effective strategy to combat the spread of germs.

When the Coronavirus first became a prevalent concern in our society, there was a notion that hand sanitizer was going to save everyone. Although hand sanitizer is a great alternative to hand washing, proper hand washing is the most effective way to clean and sanitize your hands.

Proper Hand Washing

As outlined by the CDC, proper hand washing should look like this:

  • Run hands under water first
  • Apply a generous amount of soap to your hands
  • Lather hands together and scrub the back of your hands, as well as your palms
  • Get in between fingers and underneath your fingernails
  • Rinse your hands with clean water
  • Dry your hands completely on a clean towel or simply air dry them

Additionally, the CDC also defines appropriate times to wash your hands:

  • After blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing
  • After being in a public area
  • Before and after caring for someone who is ill

Take care of employees by taking these measures seriously, while also relaying the importance of these procedures to employees. This will help them to take their health, as well as the health of others, more critically.

3. Show Employees How to Wear Proper PPE

One of the more notable discussions in today’s world is the pushback on personal protective equipment, or PPE. PPE is commonly known in the healthcare world; many health officials must armor up with protective equipment in order to tend to their patients. For many health officials, PPE looks like medical gowns, hand gloves, eye protection, face masks and hair protection.

In today’s COVID world, people across the globe are expected to now partake in wearing PPE, like face masks and/or gloves. In the effort to keep us all safe, face masks play a major role. When we all wear face masks, the risk of individuals getting sick from respiratory droplets is lowered; this stops the spread of germs and viruses.

For employees at work, face masks and/or gloves should be required. Depending on your respective state, as well as establishment, particular face masks may be necessary. As a business owner, you may want to provide job-issued face masks in efforts to keep a cohesive brand image or you may allow employees to bring their own. Regardless of your decision, employees should be informed on the importance of wearing face masks and how wearing one can prevent them from getting sick or infecting others.

As stated above, respiratory droplets are a significant way that germs are spread. When a person coughs, talks, sneezes, shouts, sings, or even chants, their respiratory droplets can now land on another person. If these droplets land in someone’s mouth, nose, eyes, or are inhaled, individuals can become infected with COVID-19. As you run your establishment, it is in the best interest of everyone involved to wear face masks, keep the establishment clean, as well as take personal hygiene seriously.

The Bottom Line

Being that this pandemic came rapidly and disrupted a lot of normalcy, it is especially pertinent to utilize resources that will help train your employees for a COVID-centric workplace. Many of the old practices, policies and regulations regarding the former workplace have been dismantled and replaced with new ideas that attempt to take care of employees and keep us all safe from the virus. Likewise, as this pandemic phases out, many of the current policies, regulations and practices will subsequently change. As a business owner, it is your duty to keep employees informed in efforts for them to make these adjustments quickly, efficiently and without greater risk to their health.