Employee health and workplace cleanliness have always been important, but the COVID-19 pandemic has brought these topics to the forefront for many business owners. Now more than ever, it is critical that business owners take diligent steps to protect themselves, their employees, and their customers from COVID-19 and other contagious diseases. By being proactive about sanitation and employee health, business owners can protect their community, prevent the spread of diseases, and set healthy habits that will be important beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
To learn more about health and sanitation protocols, see these recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Social Distancing for All
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends social distancing. In an office setting, this might mean spacing out employee desks or work stations to include at least six feet of space between employees. Social distancing should also be observed in communal workplace areas, like a kitchen or break room.
If your employees frequently interact with customers or clients, you can also provide protection by putting up signs reminding everyone about social distancing or by asking anyone who enters your workplace to stay at least six feet away from others.
Sick Employees, Stay Home
If an employee is exhibiting signs of COVID-19 or has been exposed to COVID-19, employers should immediately ask them to stay home until they feel better and their symptoms subside. Having sick or symptomatic employees stay away from the workplace not only gives them time to rest and recover, but keeps them from spreading their illness to others in the workplace.
Employees should be encouraged to stay home not just for COVID-19 symptoms, but for any type of contagious illness, like influenza. By setting policies where sick employees are asked to take time off, business owners create a healthier environment for everyone.
Keeping It Clean
Having a sanitary workplace is important all the time, not just during the COVID-19 pandemic. All throughout the year, business owners should ask employees to make sure all workplaces and communal areas are clean and organized. To encourage sanitation, business owners might hang up reminders or assign different employees each week to basic cleaning tasks, like wiping down counters in a communal break room. This motivates everyone in the workplace to do their part.
If an employee has COVID-19 symptoms or has been in direct contact with someone exposed to COVID-19, the CDC recommends a prompt disinfection of their workplace and other areas they may have touched. They also recommend the use of gloves, masks, or other protective gear when disinfecting an area due to COVID-19.
Please note that this blog was published in October 2021 and that circumstances and protocols regarding COVID-19 may have changed. Please consult resources from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to get the most up-to-date COVID-19 news.