Ready for the team to return to work? – Corporate Infection Control
The recovery from COVID-19 will be local, each city and state will have their own pace. Above all businesses are returning to work with a focus on corporate infection control. How do we stay open while keeping customers and employees safe in a post-COVID-19 era? What is my liability if a client or employee becomes ill and or dies secondary to COVID-19? Does my insurance require mitigation of infections for employees and customers? All great questions right now, before we start, remember “plan your dive and diver your plan”. This will help you keep on track as you navigate a new corporate landscape.
1. Reach out to the local health department and check their website daily.
The recovery from COVID will be local. Your health department and local hospitals will be the best source of information. Sign up for their twitter feed, as they release information, you will be informed. If you are seeing a downward trend of cases, start mobilizing your team. Checkin with them to see if they are ready, willing, and able to return to work. After that, understand what concerns they have with returning to work and the corporate infection control plan. If your health department is experiencing an upward trend, have a plan to keep people at home longer, using a remote office environment.
2. Be prepared for a spike in cases that changes your plan.
A spike in cases may cause you to close your office, shortly after opening. Have a plan for this, and keep your team informed about the unexpected. Over-communicate, this reduces the anxiety level when plans change suddenly. Finally, explain why the plan has changed. Team members go from zero to completely frustrated when they do not understand or know the reason why a decision has been made that directly affects their daily life.
3. Start a peer crisis support group.
Our best defense for mental health issues in any company is prevention and early recognition with intervention. To begin with, many team members may have experienced significant stress in the past few months. They may have lost family members, friends, and or colleagues, confounded by a loss of income. As a result, some of us will develop fractures of our mental health, while others may shatter. Secondly, start with confidential, self-assessment surveys. We recommend using an outside third-party to help administers surveys. This prevents any internal bias and or retribution by superiors. Finally, if you do not have a mental health professional on-call or a peer critical incident/counseling program, now is the time to start.
4. Have a corporate infection control officer and mandatory training.
As a result of COVID-19 offices have been recognized as a potential point of virus transmission. An infection control officer reviews environmental and physical elements that will reduce transmission of contact/droplet pathogens. This should be followed by updated policies and procedures regarding the mitigation of virus transmission for each office location. Companies like MedEdNow, offer Corporate Infection Control education as well as CPR and First Aid. Have a plan for self-screening and screening when entering work, or returning from lunch.
5. Assess your liability for infection control with your insurance carrier.
Does your insurance plan include transmission of COVID-19? If an employee or customer brought litigation against the company, alleging you failed to provide a safe environment, would you be liable? The answer to these questions is not clear, we are all navigating this in real-time. Companies with a Corporate Infection Control Officer, individual training, and a plan for mitigation are less likely to have these events.