Ensuring Employees Are Safe During a Pandemic – Tips and Best Practices

Dr. Teresa Bartlett, Sedgwick

COVID-19, the virus that has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, is affecting the workforce both across the US and globally as employers rush to educate employees on best practices and navigate a new world of remote working. As organizations work to put new rules in place, they are turning to those with the expertise to provide counsel at this time.

Dr. Teresa Bartlett, Managing Director and Senior Medical Officer at Sedgwick, is advising some of the world’s largest organizations on techniques that help ensure business operations run as smoothly as possible throughout the crisis. Common topics Bartlett advises on includes: strategies to putting the employee’s welling-being first, work-from-home protocols, and how to set in place preparation plans to curb the virus from worsening.

Strategies to putting the employee’s wellbeing first

If a case arises where an employee is infected with COVID-19, employers should do their best to ensure that the affected employee feels supported and cared for. There are many ways to support employees – at Sedgwick, there are crisis care nurses available to provide necessary compassionate support and education to manage the illness, advice on how to quarantine or isolate in your home as well as as a guide to help answer any questions and provide proper guidance throughout the treatment period. Employers can also show support by helping the employee navigate any needs around extended leave related to the virus. It is of utmost importance that employers show support to employees during times of crisis, supporting both their well-being and maintaining a sense of order in the organization.

“It is very important for companies to follow CDC and World Health Organization guidelines, checking both agency’s website for new information on the spread of the virus. There you can find regular updates, as well as best practices to help avoid its spread,” said Bartlett.

Setting in place preparation plans to curb the virus’ spread

In the event an outbreak occurs, Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidelines on how to properly clean and disinfect buildings and its contents. Companies can contact organizations like EFI Global if assistance is needed in the proper the sanitization of an office space and surrounding areas.

Working with employers to ensure the safety or all employees, it is important for anyone at an organization to self-evaluate after any travel or interaction with large crowds. Anyone who is exhibiting symptoms should not go to work and if symptoms begin in the workplace immediately leave and let others know that they are not feeling well and are taking the extra precaution to self-quarantine.

Work-from-home protocols

As the world continues to fight this ever changing battle against COVID-19, companies soon might be closing and moving to a fully-remote office – in fact, some are already doing so. In a case of fully-remote office scenario, employees should continue to check in with their employers and keep them up-to-date on any changes or illnesses that might occur in order to take precaution for other employees that you may have had contact with. Bartlett recommends staying aware of the symptoms of COVID-19, frequently washing your hands and if having to leave your home or office, remember to always have hand sanitizer and wipes on you to help prevent the spread of the virus as much as possible.

It is important for employees and employers to work together to avoid crisis, in order to make sure their workplace is a safe one. Being cautious and alert will allow both parties to be conscious of their surroundings, but if crisis does occur employees should know they are supported by their employer.