By: Devan Moonsamy
It has happened. The dreaded 3rd wave is upon us and it is killing our loved ones. The new strain is spreading like wild fire in Gauteng. A number of businesses have been forced to operate at capacity as more and more people are needing to isolate.
As we struggle to recover from the blow of the severe lockdown of 2020, the new found strain is threatening further restrictions putting even more concern on the business sector. As much the argument is people safety, it is also ensuring people have a livelihood to come back to.
At this point companies should have some sort of Covid-19 policy or protocol that staff need to follow. This should not be limited to just sanitizing and wearing a mask. This should extend to more discussion around what steps should be followed if one tests positive or if a family member tests positive.
If you have not implemented a policy yet you should do so as soon as possible. Here is a guideline on what to include:
- Your companies Covid-19 policy should include a guideline on what to do if anyone tests positive in the office. The process of getting tested is daunting enough and now having to inform the office and deal with the stigma might be intimidating. Perhaps you could have a Covid-19 task team that will notify the rest of the office should someone test positive. This can be part of HR but not limited to them. By having this set up will allow better control of information when someone tests positive. If someone tests positive and informs the team in charge of handling this process then they can notify the individuals that need to perform an office cleanse.
- Once this is done, people who have symptoms should not come to work even after the office space is ready for work. Work from home options should be made available. If the office can accommodate people working with significant social distancing, then this can be done. However, the wearing of masks and PPE must be upheld at all costs.
- We know that it is flu season and this means that Covid-19 and flu symptoms are similar. By asking individuals with the flu to not attend work will also ensure that the flu will not spread at the office. But this also needs to be monitored. We don’t want a case were staff members who are not sick taking advantage of the situation and failing to report to work.
- Taking of people’s temperatures, sanitizing and even asking them to wear a mask is not enough anymore. We need to ask people to inform us of their activities. If someone is attending a gathering, they should let us know. If they have had a death in the family and they need to attend we should be notified. Be it a family member testing positive or coming in contact with someone who tests positive, we need to have engagement with staff on their whereabouts. This is not to violate their privacy but it is to have a record of who could be at risk of potentially getting the virus.
- As much as we are at risk of getting the virus the looming fearing of getting the virus has a severe impact on our mental health. In order to assist our staff perhaps include a service to allow them to speak to qualified professionals about their mental health. Working from home and in isolation is not something they are used to, by having a discussion around their mental health wellbeing they could get the boost in confidence and perform better.
We don’t know when we will be rid of this deadly virus. Implementing a policy will give a guideline to staff on how to operate in the business despite having uncertainty around the virus. Have a task team allows staff to ask questions and be familiar with how to function at the office or at home while dealing with the 3rd wave.