According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), businesses and employers can slow and even prevent the spread of COVID-19 in many ways.1 By being flexible, we can make a real difference.
Here are three important areas to consider:
Reduce transmission among employees
- Actively ensure sick employees stay home and self-quarantine.
- Encourage employees to work from home when possible.
- Ensure areas in which workers might be exposed to COVID-19 and common areas are cleaned and disinfected often – these common surfaces could include water fountains, computers, doorknobs, desks, etc.
- Educate employees about how they can reduce the spread of COVID-19. Share helpful hygiene tips:
- Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw used tissues into covered trash receptacles.
- Wear a cloth face covering. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.3
- And, of course, practice social distancing. Video conferencing, teleconferencing, instant messaging and emails are all useful alternatives to in-person meetings.
Maintain healthy business operations
- Identify a small team who can be responsible for COVID-19 prevention and communication. This should not be just one person – you will need a team who can maintain their health and morale in order to support others.
- Implement flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices. Check with your local public health department for recommendations.
- Connect employees to employee assistance programs, if available, or other community resources.
- Ensure employees hear from you directly – emphasize compassion as well as urgency in your communications.
- Be prepared to change your business practices quickly and rapidly if an employee is infected or exposed to someone who is infected.
Maintain a healthy work environment
- Support good hygiene by providing soap, water, and hand sanitizers.
- Check that your building’s ventilation system is clean. If possible, you can increase the amount of outdoor air that circulates into the system.
- Critically say “no” to stigma. Anyone can contract the virus; it does not discriminate, and neither should we. If someone becomes infected, it’s not their fault. Help them weather through this difficult period and maintain their privacy.
More questions about ways to support your employees?
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html, March 21, 2020 2 The downloading and use of the Cigna Envoy App and the Cigna Wellbeing App is subject to the terms and conditions of the App and the online store from which it is downloaded. Standard mobile phone carrier and data usage charges apply. 3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover.html, April 3, 2020
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