How to prepare your organisation for a global health emergency

The spread of the Coronavirus has sparked alarm not just in the UK, but Worldwide. As confirmed cases of Coronavirus continue to rise, the World Health Organisation has declared a global health emergency. Many will agree that we are entering unknown territory with the spread of the virus in the UK. However, this position of ‘unknown territory’ is something we have experienced before and should be prepared for.

The health of clients, partners, employees and candidates is the primary concern of all organisations across the UK. In light of recommendations from the World Health Organisation, Absolute Personnel have created a guide for organisations to ensure the safety of their workforce.

  1. Do we have to isolate our staff?

During a global health emergency, it’s important to reduce further spread of infection. If staff need to self-isolate, they will need to stay indoors and avoid contact with people for 14 days. Self-isolating will require understanding and support from employers to reduce the risk of spread infection in the workplace. If employees are well, there may be an opportunity for them to work from home.

At Absolute Personnel we have emailed all staff who are currently on annual leave, or who have planned annual leave, requesting information on their travel plans. This enquiry led to one of our temps informing us that they were going to Italy. We are going to advise that she remains off work for two weeks in order to prevent the risk of infection spreading and that she follows the NHS advice of self-isolation. 

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/

  1. Should we continue to have face to face meetings?

 Organisers of meetings and events need to think about the potential risk from the Coronavirus. Consider whether a face to face meeting is needed. If a face to face meeting is avoidable, look at the other options such as video chats or webinars.

  1. Should we still be shaking hands?

 The outbreak of the Coronavirus is reminding individuals that the handshake is a mechanic of transferring bacteria and viruses from one person to another. Some people have made the decision to swap out their handshakes for something a little more creative such as a thumbs up or the elbow bump! Others have chosen to continue with the classic handshake. Regardless of your choice, the question of should we still be shaking hands has increased everyone’s awareness of frequent and effective hand washing.

The Coronavirus undoubtedly will have lasting effects, one may be the way we choose to greet each other.  

  1. What steps can we take in the office?

In order to protect your workplace, both staff and visitors should be provided with clear information on the virus using communication channels including posters and emails.

Here are several links to posters which can be located around the office:

Hand washing facilities should be available and well stocked. More regular hand washing may require more supplies. You could also provide hand sanitiser, tissues and cleaning products around your buildings for staff and visitors. 

We hope that these guidelines encourage organisation to adopt a new approach to signature policies and procedures. Absolute Personnel are taking this opportunity to develop a framework for the future to ensure the health and safety of our team and we hope that other organisations take this pro-active approach.