Even as attempts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 have sent the global workforce home in droves, many individuals the world over continue to work on-site each day to support essential businesses and business continuity in general. Citizens of the world have taken notice. Here are just two examples:
- Every evening at 7 p.m. New York City residents break into applause to thank first responders and healthcare workers putting their lives at risk to do so.
- McDonald’s is offering free “Thank You Meals” for first responders and healthcare workers between April 22 and May 5.
While we applaud these displays of gratitude, they also beg the question: how are we (and by “we,” we mean everyone everywhere) showing our gratitude toward those members of the workforce who can’t necessarily be called “first responders” but who have continued to work on-site throughout the pandemic? It’s something to think about, right? In the meantime, we can offer the following insight into how we at Exela are supporting our on-site workforce in supporting our business continuity and the business continuity of our customers:
Staggering work shifts
We have and continue to rejigger work shifts for those employees whose jobs require them to be in the office. Implementing several shifts, as opposed to requiring everyone to be on-site at the same time, supports on-site employees in maintaining greater physical distance from one another by making office spaces less populated.
Providing cleaning products for on-site employees
Providing cleaning products for on-site employees supports those employees in sanitizing their workspaces and keeping their hands free from germs.
Implementing daily cleaning of office space
Cleanliness has never been so important, which is strict daily cleaning of office spaces is critical wherever employees are working on-site.
Providing protective gear
We are providing cloth face coverings for our employees who are on-site in an effort to protect employees from the respiratory droplets of other employees and our customers, where applicable. When our employees must visit viral hot zones such as New York City or medical facilities anywhere (for example, for our healthcare industry customers), we do our best to provide N95 masks (also known as respirators), which are a step above cloth face masks (learn the difference in the COVID-19 Glossary). We also provide protective gloves for all of our on-site employees.
Offering safety training
A mask and gloves won’t help if they become cross-contamination vectors. Therefore, it’s important for on-site employees to be trained in how to apply and remove their protective gear without risking cross-contamination. Training can be provided off-site using tools like Exela’s automated training and certification tools.
Offering non-invasive health monitoring
Wherever our employees are on-site, we have put into place a temperature-monitoring program whereby employees can assess their temperatures (and whether they have a fever). Ideally, this is done via scanner (which doesn’t require skin contact), but disposable thermometer strips are also useful. If anyone logs a temperature of 99F or higher, they should be asked not to enter the site and to instead seek immediate medical attention until a medical fit-for-duty certificate can be obtained.
Maintaining an agile response plan
At Exela, in the event an employee becomes a “Confirmed Case” (see definition, as well as a full COVID-19 pandemic glossary, here) we have put into place a rapid reporting mechanism whereby all employees are notified and sent home for the day while a nationally reputable cleaning firm disinfects the site before the next workday. We also have a team of experts on hand to collect and analyze all related data using state-of-the-art analytic tool, and business continuity team members, including members of Human Resources and Security leadership, stay on top of such data and related reports to provide continuing real-time guidance on workplace protocols.
The more you communicate with your on-site workforce, the more vital information you and they will have. Keep in at least bi-weekly contact with your employees. Consider offering employee training regarding safety measures. Here at Exela, our Corporate Communications team sends out communications two to three times per week to provide our employees with the latest news, information, updates, and resources.
Encourage your employees to stay informed
With self-service solutions such as Smart Lockers such a popular choice among our customers, it’s only natural we would gravitate toward helping our employees to help themselves become and remain well-informed about the constantly evolving pandemic landscape. Our Corporate Communications team offers news and resources at least weekly, and we keep it reliable by following these 8 ways to sniff out the fake news from what’s true.
Here at the Exela Blog, we’re doing our part to vet the news and share only what we can be certain is true. We hope you’ll do the same. As you work through these challenging times, we hope you’ll find these best practices for making remote working work for you helpful for you -- if you’re working from home, as well as our special edition of PluggedIN, COVID-19: A Tipping Point For Remote Work, a thought leadership publication focusing on remote work trends before, during and after the pandemic and best practices for business leaders and managers to ensure productivity and efficiency while employees are working from home.
If there is any way you think we can assist you, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.