As areas of the country reopen, many states, including NY, CA, and MA, are requiring that companies create a written COVID-19 health and safety plan outlining how they will prevent and manage the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. These requirements, along with the business imperative and financial pressures to reopen, create an urgency around COVID-19 planning.
Recently, experts from Better Health Advisors worked with an essential company of 400 employees and 6 national locations to establish, implement and manage their COVID-19 strategy. BHA used methodology grounded in improvement science and up-to-date evidence based knowledge of COVID-19’s transmissibility. BHA did the following:
- Performed an assessment to determine the company’s current state of preparedness and activities
- Created evidence-based policies that align with company’s existing workflows to ensure sustainable success
- Developed a pre-arrival self checklist to ensure safety for the work campuses
- Established an escalation protocol for potentially symptomatic employees
- Crafted educational materials and resources to ensure employees have the latest information from trusted sources
- As this plan is implemented, BHA will provide support to leadership to amend and its policies to meet the needs of the company
- BHA will continue to monitor the latest happenings with COVID19 and will add other measures as they become available or necessary
Due to the complexity and ever changing events surrounding the pandemic, it is advisable to get assistance from outside experts.
Top 10 tips come from the BHA Corporate Checklist to Reopen:
- Make Data-driven Decisions. Review all appropriate, updated, evidence-based information on COVID-19 from trusted sources.
- Create Covid Health and Safety Plans. Use medical experts to create, implement and monitor a preparedness and response plan.
- Engage Stakeholders. Seek input from key stakeholders to involve them in decision-making and planning efforts.
- Conduct Assessments. Consider the home circumstances for each employee to determine the best work arrangement. For example, an employee may have an at-risk family member. Perform a workplace assessment to determine the current activities and practices of the company.
- Cultivate Healthy Habits. Hygiene: reinforce regular hand-washing; Distancing: 6 feet social distance remains; Masks: set an example and normalize everyday mask-wearing
- Establish a Screening Protocol. Before entering the workplace, employees should be asked if they have any of the COVID-19 symptoms, even a runny nose. Considering fevers aren’t always present as a symptom of COVID-19, taking an employee’s temperature alone is not enough.
- Review Existing HR Policies. Consult legal counsel and review HR policies and procedures.
- Examine Workspace Environment & Supplies. Assess the building’s ventilation system, the layout of the office (ex. cubicles, conference rooms, high-touch elevators, stairs), and the stockpile of supplies (i.e. sanitizer, masks, soap). Strategically place hand-sanitizers throughout the office.
- Utilize Straightforward Communication. Continuously update and educate staff and others about workplace changes.
- Consider Mental Health Support. The psychological toll of the pandemic exacerbated the mental health crisis in the United States. Recognize that employees may not always reach out for help.
Each work setting has different capabilities and unique challenges, yet together we will adapt to the new normal of COVID-19. As always, experts at BHA are available to help companies navigate COVID-19 planning decisions.