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Not all businesses have had the luxury of sending their workers home to work remotely. There are still many employees working onsite in the Toronto area who are actively voicing their concerns about COVID-19 which is affecting their physical, emotional and mental health. This is distressing to them and employers alike and if not addressed, will lead to ongoing productivity issues and employee retention. Follow these standards recommended by the Government of Canada to help support onsite employees during COVID-19 and beyond.
Onsite employees need as much consideration as off-site workers, in fact, more because of social distancing rules. While those working remotely can work in isolation protecting themselves and their families from the contagion, onsite workers find out harder to adhere to social distancing rules. While communication lines are open and companies have moved quickly to physically protect their workforce, a survey conducted by Angus Reid on behalf of ADP Canada highlights an opportunity to further support the mental health of employees – particularly those on the front lines of the pandemic.
An effective safety measure is to screen employees before they enter the work environment. This includes taking their temperature and any employee with a fever should immediately be sent home. Encourage employees who experience symptoms such as fever and/or a cough to stay at home. To retain critical employees consider adjusting leave policies to ensure that sick workers can quarantine at home without losing their income.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many provinces and territories required workplaces/businesses to close, except those providing essential services and goods. Provide onsite workers with up-to-date education and training on COVID-19 risk factors and protective behaviours, for example, cough etiquette and the proper care of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE ). Train workers who need to use protective clothing and equipment how to put it on, how to use it, how to wear it, and take it off correctly, including in the context of their current and potential duties. Workers should always wash their hands when their PPE is visibly soiled and after removing any PPE.
Providing resources and a work environment that promotes personal hygiene is essential to the health and safety of employees working on-site to give them peace of mind. For example, provide boxes of tissues on every desk, no-touch trash cans throughout, hand soap, alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol, disinfectants and disposable towels for workers to clean their work surfaces. Post handwashing signs in restrooms and require regular hand washing or use of alcohol-based hand rubs.
It’s known that the virus spreads more quickly in poorly ventilated areas. Your employees should be encouraged to leave office and meeting room doors open not only for greater ventilation, but also to reduce the need to touch door handles. If using air conditioning units, make sure high-efficiency air filters are installed plus install physical barriers such as plastic sneeze guards where appropriate to minimize the risk of infection.
Establishing alternating days or extra shifts for employees will reduce the total number of employees active in a facility at a given time will reduce the risk of spreading infection. This allows for safe social distancing while maintaining a full onsite work week.
Based in Toronto, Sysoft knows the technologies businesses need to be effective during this crisis. Technology is a critical ingredient for business continuity, whether it is supporting your remote workers or those working onsite.