If you are business proprietors, one question arises in your mind that is how you can prepare your business for corona virus outbreak and what does the outbreak of the COVID-19 mean for your business, your data and your family?
Firstly, we should understand what is COVID-19 and what are its symptoms?
What Is COVID-19 And How It Spreads?
Corona Virus is officially known as COVID-19, it belongs to the family of viruses taken by animals and humans. It is believed that this virus usually spreads from an animal to a human and now, it spreads from one human to another. The novel COVID-19 that commenced in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and continues to disseminate till now. COVID-19 is caused by the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2. However, in the 21st-century, coronavirus outbreaks have transmitted 3 times from animal reservoirs to cause serious diseases and global transmission concerns.
The novel COVID-19 attaches to the tissue of the lungs and can result in medical conditions ranging from mild to severe upper-respiratory tract illness such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) or MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). Remaining calm and adapting proactive behavior is the key to staying healthy.
Symptoms Of Corona Virus Outbreak
This severe infection can cause pneumonia, serious acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. The symptoms of corona virus are as follows:
- Persistent pain in the chest.
- Shortness of breath or breathing difficulties.
- Inability to arouse.
- Bluish lips or face.
Although the symptoms may appear 2-14 days after the exposure. Seek medical advice if you are diagnosed with these symptoms, if you have come in contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently been in an area with the ongoing outbreak of the corona virus.
How Can I Safeguard My Business In The Midst Of Corona Virus Outbreak?
There are some measures that companies can take to protect from the outbreak for reducing the impacts of COVID-19. These measures should be taken to prevent workplace exposure to this infectious disease. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are some measures that business owners or employers should adopt to Prepare Your:
Actively promote sick employees to stay at home.
- Employees who have diagnosed with these symptoms like acute respiratory tract illness are suggested to stay at home and not come to workforce until they are fever-free (100.4° F (38.0° C) or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without using fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines like cough suppressants. Employees should inform their upper authority and stay home if they are sick.
- Make sure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of all those policies.
- Talk with the companies that provide your business with the contract or temporary employees about the necessity of sick employees staying at home and promote them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
- Don’t require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory tract illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and are unable to provide such documentation in a timely way.
- Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
Isolate sick employees.
- CDC suggests that employees who may have acute respiratory illness symptoms like cough, shortness of breath, etc upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be isolated from other employees and sent home immediately.
- Sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a mask or tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if there is no tissue available).
Perform routine environmental sanitation.
- Promote cough and sneeze etiquette and proper handwashing. Check that there are adequate supplies of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, soaps and facial tissues in your nearby workforce places.
- Regularly wipe down the frequently touched surfaces and provide disposable wipes for employees to clean their workspace with.
Suggest employees before traveling to take some measures.
- Check the CDC Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and suggestions for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from China, and information for aircrew, can be found on the CDC website.
- Advise employees to check themselves for the symptoms of acute respiratory-tract illness before starting travel and inform their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
- Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if required.
- If outside the United States, sick employees should follow your company’s policy or contact a healthcare provider or overseas medical assistance company to help them with finding a suitable healthcare provider in that country. Employees should be advised, U.S. embassies, consulates and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to evacuate or give medicines, vaccines to private U.S. citizens overseas.
- In the event of a corona virus outbreak in the U.S., businesses should consider canceling non-essential business travel to additional countries as per the CDC guidelines. Understand that other countries may enforce travel restrictions which could leave your employees stranded in another country.
- While airports around the country are screening passengers for diagnosing the symptoms of the COVID-19.
Build an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan
What are the essential considerations for the Employers?
All the employers need to consider how best they are in decreasing the transmission of acute respiratory tract illness and lower the impacts of the novel COVID-19 in their workplace in the event of an outbreak while maintaining continuous business operations. They should also identify and communicate their objectives, like:
- Reducing transmission among staff.
- Protecting the people who are at higher risk of adverse health complications.
- Minimizing the adverse effects on other entities in their supply chains.
Some of the essential considerations that Employers should take care of are as follows:
- Check that the plan is flexible and involve all your employees in developing and reviewing your infectious disease response plan.
- Conduct a focused discussion on using your plan, to find out ahead of time whether the plan has any issues that need to be corrected.
- Share your plan with the employees and explain what are the human resource policies, workplace and leave flexibilities, pay and benefits will be available to them.
- Share the best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of trade, and associations to improve the overall community response efforts.
Important Suggestions For The Infectious Disease Corona Virus Outbreak Response Plan
There are some important suggestions that you should follow for the Infectious Disease Response Plan:
- Identify workplace exposure risks: According to OSHA, exposure to risk may be elevated for workers who interact with potentially infected travelers from abroad, including those in healthcare, laboratories, airline operations, border protection, solid waste, and wastewater management and those who travel to areas where the virus is spreading.
- Review HR policies: HR policies should strictly follow public health recommendations and already existing state and federal workplace laws.
- Determine whether work from home can be possible: This practice involves establishing policies for flexible worksites and work hours. If your business provides the ability for employees to work from home to prevent the transmission, prepare in advance for the IT required for multiple employees to work from home.
- Identify important roles, functions, and suppliers: Determine how your business would continue to operate if an employee in a key role was on sick leave for one-to-two weeks.
We know that the outbreak of the novel COVID-19 is expected to impact the organizations and businesses worldwide but cannot be sure of how badly it affects until it occurs. By applying the above measures you can prepare your business for corona virus outbreak. That’s why many of today’s industries are going to have to adapt the preventive measures preemptively in preparation. Remote workers will play a crucial role in continuing the business as usual. It is necessary, however, to start as soon as possible. Waiting for the last minute to have the best practices in the workplace, could be disastrous to your organization.