Creating a Pandemic Management Plan that Works for You
But with careful planning and implementation, you can develop a pandemic management plan that puts both customer and employee safety at the forefront of your business. Prepare for a successful rebound by keeping these general tips in mind. And remember: always follow federal, state, and local guidelines for proper protocols and procedures.
Encourage Social Distance
Creating a safe workplace is more important now than ever before. While medical professionals are continuing to research the causes and long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it is transmitted, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have maintained consistent guidance: that a distance of 6 feet or more is recommended to help mitigate risk.
Take a close look at your office or facility and determine the areas that need to be modified or redesigned for social distancing. Consider investing in partitions or dividers to help maintain separation and provide protective barriers in lobbies, reception areas, cubicles/desks, and other frequently trafficked spaces. Cashier shields and crowd control stanchions can also provide additional protection and help direct one-way traffic flow in accordance with social distancing protocols.
Practice Good Hand Hygiene
The age-old advice rings true: handwashing is one of the easiest ways to reduce the spread of germs. Experts recommend lathering up with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, and encourage staff and customers to maintain good hygiene at all times ― but especially so after coughing or sneezing. Ramp up your business’s hygiene by equipping construction sites or large fulfillment centers with portable restrooms and handwashing stations. For public or in-office restrooms, make sure hand soaps are readily available and instruct cleaning staff to regularly and more frequently keep tabs on supplies.
While nothing is quite as effective as handwashing to help minimize the spread of germs, hand sanitation stations can help enforce healthier habits in areas where soap and water are unavailable. Supplement restrooms and handwashing stations by adding hand sanitizer dispensers, containing at least 60% alcohol, near lobbies, reception areas, cash registers, hallways, breakrooms, and other commonly used areas.
Add Signage AND Advisories
Keep employees and customers informed of current or changing health advisories by posting public safety signage throughout your office or facilities. Social distancing signs and floor markers will help ensure correct spacing is maintained in all areas of your business, while handwashing reminders posted in bathrooms, breakrooms, and kitchens will keep hand hygiene top priority. Beyond serving as a source of information, outfitting your floors and/or walls with signage will send a positive message: that you care about health and wellness and are committed to providing a safe, hygienic workplace.
Stock up on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
For employees returning to work, personal protective equipment (PPE) will be key. Assess your business needs and determine the type of PPE that would allow workers to resume their jobs as safely and effectively as possible. Examples of common PPE include: face masks (cloth and medical/disposable), face shields, and medical gloves. Stock up on these protective products to safeguard hands, eyes, mouths, and noses against airborne particulates and potentially germ-laden surfaces.
PPE should be placed in areas where employees can easily access them, with garbage cans nearby for disposable items. Don’t forget to remind staff to always practice safe social distancing of at least 6 feet, even when wearing PPE.