Some of the ways in which you can protect your small business’ employees during the Covid-19 crisis include:
1. By allowing them to work from home
There are certain jobs that can be performed from home. You need to take a closer look at all the roles in your business and find out which ones can be done at home. Then you need to tell the employees handling those roles to start working from home. This will serve two purposes. Firstly, it will go a long way towards showing your employees that you care for them. This is likely to improve their morale. Secondly, having your employees work from home is likely to translate into more productivity. That is because the employees would have more hours to work. Just think about the time they would otherwise have wasted commuting to and from the workplace. They can now be using that time to perform their respective roles. Moreover, the employees who are allowed to work from home will have peace of mind. It will be based on them knowing that the chances of them contracting Covid-19 while working from home are lower. More peace of mind translates into more productivity… In all this, you may be asking yourself how you would be able to coordinate work, if many of your employees are working from home. The answer to that question is in tools like Zoom and Google Meet, which enable you to set up virtual meetings without spending too much money.
2. By providing face shields
It has been demonstrated that face shields lower the chances of one contracting Covid-19 significantly. They are also (to most people) more comfortable to wear than masks. So what you need to do is ensure that you procure high quality face shields for all your employees. Especially those who have to operate from your business’ premises (as in, those who can’t work from home). Then you need to encourage the employees to be actually wearing the face shields. You need to understand that providing the face shields is only half the equation. The other half is that of getting the employees to actually wear them. And the way to get the employees to actually wear their face shields is getting them to understand why it is in their best interest to do so.
3. By providing sanitizers
One of the most effective tools in the fight against Covid-19 is the sanitizer. You therefore need to ensure that you provide adequate amounts of sanitizer for your business’ premises. But once again, you need to understand that providing the sanitizer is just half the equation. The other equally important half is that of getting the employees to actually use the sanitizer. And once again the most effective strategy here is that of appealing to the employees’ self interests. It is about getting the employees to see why it is in their own personal interests to consistently sanitize their hands while in the workplace. Of course, if you only sanitize the employees but don’t sanitize the customers coming into your business premises, you won’t achieve much. Thus you also need to ensure that the customers interacting with your business’ employees also get to sanitize their hands.
4. By staggering the working hours
The idea here is to minimize crowding at your business’ premises. So you can have one group of employees reporting at, say, 6 am and departing at 2 pm, another group coming in at 2 pm and leaving at 10 pm… and so on. You can combine this strategy with that of having the employees who can work from home do so. That way, you will end up with no crowding at all within your small business’ premises.
5. By checking the employees’ (and customers’) body temperatures
For the employees, this should be done consistently at reporting time. Whereas big businesses take this aspect of checking employees’ and customers’ temperatures seriously, small businesses seem to be somehow lax about it. Yet when all is said and done, Covid-19 doesn’t differentiate small businesses from big businesses – all are at risk. Thus, checking employees’ and customers’ temperatures is very critical. And those who are detected to have a fever should then be allowed to go back home or given a chance to get tested for Covid-19. All you need for this purpose is a thermo-gun. Nowadays, thermo-guns aren’t very expensive, and there is no reason why you can’t acquire one for the safety of your employees.
6. By ensuring proper spacing between desks
The objective here is to ensure that there is proper social distancing within your small business’ premises. You can start by allowing the employees who can work from home to do so (see point 1 above). Then you stagger the working hours (see point 4 above) for the employees who have to work from your business’ premises. After those measures, it should be possible for the employees who happen to be within your business’ premises to attain proper social distancing. You can also put in place mechanisms to ensure that the customers being served by your employees don’t get too close to them.
7. By Giving adequate sick offs to those who fall ill
The starting point here is where you identify the employees who happen to have preexisting conditions. Those are conditions that make them more prone to severe Covid-19 infections. Such employees should, as a matter of necessity, be allowed to work from home. For the rest of the employees, the policy should be that those who fall ill are given adequate sick offs. You need to understand that during this Covid-19 period, it can be very disconcerting to have to work alongside someone who is ill. That is the case even if they happen to be suffering from something else, other than Covid-19. Thus, employees who happen to fall ill should be allowed enough time to recuperate, and should only come back to work when they recover fully. On another note, giving adequate sick offs would serve the purpose of showing your employees that you care for them. That is a critical morale booster.
8. By ensuring that the premises are regularly and thoroughly cleaned
We have been told that it is possible for the Covid-19 virus to remain attached to surfaces for considerable periods of time. The way to detach it is by ensuring that the surfaces are thoroughly cleaned from time to time. You therefore need to ensure that you are very keen on your cleaning protocols during this Coronavirus crisis period. By ensuring that the premises are regularly and thoroughly cleaned, you will be protecting your employees from a wide variety of other pathogens – not just Covid-19.