In a matter of weeks, the coronavirus has swept the globe. In the U.S., health care workers, restaurant employees, grocery store cashiers, and others in what are considered “necessary” industries cannot afford to take time and hunker down at home like the rest of the country. They must continue to provide services many so desperately need right now, which means maintaining their health and well-being is crucial.
Many businesses that directly serve the public already have certain employee health protocols put into place as mandated by government regulations. Now with the spread of the virus increasing, there have been more stringent precautions and best practices implemented to help flatten the curve.
Social distancing is one of the key ways to slow the spread of the coronavirus and help officials treat those who already have it and prevent new cases as much as possible. Limiting in-person interaction with others on any level is preferred. States like California have already issued a shelter-in place ban to order its residents to stay home with exception of essential business matters.
Restaurants and bars have been ordered to shut down dine-in services. Gyms, theaters, and live music venues have been ordered to halt business to prevent gatherings of a large number of people. These same restrictions now apply to larger companies. These solutions are changing and being implemented on a daily basis. However, there are ways of keeping employees healthy who must continue being in contact with others during this pandemic.
#1: Encourage Employees to Stay Hydrated and Well-Nourished
With many working around-the-clock and having increased levels of stress, it definitely takes a toll on a person’s immune system. Not to mention that these are the typical months for heightened allergies and the general cold season regardless of COVID-19. Maintaining a healthy diet as much as possible is important to keep energy up and the body functioning as best as possible.
Hydration is also key. FloWater offers a source of clean, filtered water on-demand either through a refill station or recyclable bottles. Maybe you’re wondering, “does water protect against Coronavirus?”, and although the answer is no, it’s still important to have a quality, reliable source of water available for offices and employees. Typically, when people are stressed out or busy, they forget to drink enough water throughout the day, which can catch up with them. For the employees who must still show up to work and handle the crisis head on, anything that helps them maintain their health is crucial.
Give employees access to FloWater and issue reminders to stay hydrated during their shifts. The same goes for staying well-nourished. It also will allow the body to keep up its energy levels and make sure people are receiving a daily intake of nutrients. Many restaurants have begun offering free meals for first responders, health care professionals, and others who are battling the coronavirus head on. It makes sense to offer them a place where they can fill up their reusable water bottles with ease.
Health Benefits of FloWater for Employees
FloWater is a healthy hydration option and has great benefits for several reasons. First, it provides purified water that goes through seven levels of filtration. Each filter is designed to remove bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants commonly found in tap water and pipes. The filtration process also adds essential minerals and electrolytes, such as magnesium, potassium, sodium, and calcium.
The FloWater Refill Station also reduces the amount of germs, dirt, and grime typically found in shared water stations. The recessed nozzle leaves plenty of room between where water is dispensed and a person’s water container, so they never come in contact with each other. Plus, the tanks have chemical-free self-sanitization that’s generated through activated oxygen.
This innovative hydration station serves a high capacity with its quick auto-replenishment. It only takes 9 seconds to fill up a 24-ounce water bottle, which means no one has to stand in line. This works well in keeping employees healthy by maintaining the recommended social distancing of standing at least six feet apart from each other.
Plus, certain models have a hot water option as well, which can be used for tea, coffee, and to use for soups and other quick and easy nutritious meals for employee convenience. All of these health benefits are in addition to the environmental advantages it provides as well. With the use of a FloWater Refill Station, there is no need for single-use plastic bottles, which greatly reduces the amount of plastic waste that is generated every day.
#2: Establish a Work from Home Policy
Although the option of remote working isn’t available to all, the more people can distance themselves from others, the better it is for everyone. For employers that can afford to let their employees work from home for the foreseeable future, this plays a large part in preventing the spread of the virus from continuing at its current rate.
Even those who do not have any symptoms could be carrying the virus and inadvertently give it to others. Switching to at-home work with virtual meetings and other ways to communicate and collaborate are key right now. Leadership roles must come up with a plan to implement right away and keep employees informed of changes as they occur.
During this time of uncertainty, it’s important to maintain one’s physical as well as mental health. As people get used to a new way of doing things, it will take trial and error. All of this can cause upheaval and extra chaos if it is not handled and distributed well from the top level down.
#3: Evaluate Cleaning and Disinfecting Procedures
For those who are still showing up to the job, it’s important to implement stringent cleaning policies. Just as people should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds and frequently use hand sanitizer, spaces should be wiped down with disinfectant wipes on a regular basis as well. Germs can stick around for hours on stainless steel and other common area spaces. Eliminating these as much as possible can help prevent the spread.
Food service handlers, including delivery drivers should wear gloves when handling food and other items. Although this is routine for many kitchens already, it’s not commonly implemented for every person that touches a dish or piece of food. Keeping hands and work stations clean are the top priorities. And, if employees are feeling ill at all, send them home right away and have them self-isolate until they do not have any other symptoms, even if these are not those of the coronavirus.
#4: Restrict Business Travel
International travel has already reached a Level 4 status. The Department of State has advised all U.S. citizens to avoid international travel and return home immediately. Although domestic travel hasn’t been restricted by the government as of yet, as a company, it’s best to halt business or any non-essential travel to maintain employee health. There is still the possibility there will be a temporary restriction on all airline travel, which can lead to other challenges down the road.
Employees who have recently traveled should steer clear of the office or coming into work. Not all cases of coronavirus are the same and symptoms may be milder for some. People who may not feel too ill may still come to work because their symptoms haven’t fully manifested yet. It’s best for those who have recently traveled or been in a large group of people, especially internationally, to stay home and monitor potential symptoms for the sake of all employees.
#5: Extend and Monitor Sick Leave Policies
Set up a plan for your company regarding how to monitor sick leave and extend as possible for those who may have the virus. During this hectic time, those who are physically healthy may be experiencing increased levels of stress and anxiety with their mental health. Show you care by checking in with employees often and keeping them informed of their options.
By handling it in a controlled way will give each person reprieve from this uncertainty as they try to continue to work as normal. Constant communication, updates, and morale boosts are crucial during this time. Speak with your leadership team and how to check in with their teams as a group and on an individual basis. Many people may not have experience working remotely and may need specific guidance, regulations, and feedback and how to stay productive in this new norm. Additionally, people coming into work may feel fearful or unmotivated.
The coronavirus outbreak is not anything anyone expected or could completely plan for, but the more you engage with your company, the better you can keep it running as smoothly as possible, while we await what’s to come.
Valuing Employees During a Time of Crisis
It’s clear how valuable supporting each other and the community is at this time. Employees on all levels are going through trying times and need to maintain their health and wellness in order to manage. It’s important to implement these tactics right away to ensure their safety needs are met.
Although things are changing rapidly, it’s a good time to show how much you value your employees and their health. Like so many others, giving them the resources and support they need is what keeps them going for another day. Proper hydration and nutrition, working from home when possible, updating cleaning systems, restricting business travel, and extending sick leave are all ways of keeping employees healthy during this time.