As an employer and business owner, there are obligations that you have to protect your employees. With the concerns currently around COVID-19, more and more businesses have been forced to change the way they operate. It is crucial that you have a plan for your staff and your business for unprecedented events, including a global pandemic.
Workplace Health and Safety
OSHA defines occupational health and safety as, “a standard which requires conditions, or the adoption or use of one or more practices, means, methods, operations, or processes, reasonably necessary or appropriate to provide safe or healthful employment and places of employment.” As a business owner, following health and safety standards is the most important part of your pandemic preparedness plan. As a pandemic progresses, safety practices and protocols become more strict. It is important that you follow government guidelines that the CDC provides for businesses of all sizes. If you do not implement these safety standards you may face a penalty. Make sure your employees have supplies to keep all frequently touched or occupied areas clean. They should also have access to personal protective equipment. Giving employees the option of working remotely, if possible, is another way to keep employees safe and feeling protected.
Your employees should be properly trained on procedures to ensure the health and safety of staff and customers. Review these procedures with your employees regularly, especially in the midst of a pandemic. Cleaning and sanitizing should be performed routinely throughout the day. You also need to enforce these safety standards with your team. If you feel that something is being done incorrectly, correct it immediately. By letting it go or waiting to correct it, you risk the health of your customers and your staff.
Working from Home
No matter how clean and safe you keep your business, you may end up having to have your employees work remotely. Make sure you have equipment readily available for your staff, so if the time comes you aren’t left scrambling to find equipment for your team or causing a delay in the workflow. You should also map out a plan for your staff while working from home. Schedule meetings twice a day to check-in and keep everyone on track. It is also crucial that you make sure your team can communicate easily with each other and customers.
Right now, we are in uncertain times. A large number of us have never lived through anything like this. Every day we will face new challenges and concerns. Being a strong leader for your employees is more important than ever before. Keep yourself and your staff informed about health and safety protocols, and keep communication open with your staff at all times. If they feel unsafe, they should feel safe to tell you their concerns or worries. A great leader always considers the concerns of others.
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