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Managing Covid-19 in organizations

A few months back, Covid-19 spread in Nepal existed just on the news but slowly the reality has now hit a lot of organizations as many of their employees test positive for the virus. When an employee is found to have tested positive for Covid-19, it’s natural for all other employees in the organization to start remembering if they had come in contact with this colleague directly or indirectly in the last one month.  Until their own covid tests come out negative, there are a lot of sleepless nights, and the time in between passes by slow and in fear. In some cases, employees start to feel if they have developed symptoms themselves like body ache, mild fever, slight cough, and difficulty in breathing, until proven that all of these feelings were due to stress and overthinking while not actually being caused by Covid.

For the management, every other Covid case detected feels like a new experience altogether, needing much more attention than the former. The entire situation is going to hamper the organization’s productivity unless the situation is lead with care. Some of the steps taken by organizations to manage Covid-19 from spreading in their offices are as follows:

1. Employees who can manage their work from home are continued to be allowed to work remotely however for employees whose job nature does not serve working from home effectively are called to the office to work on-site.

2. As the government re-imposes odd and even rule for vehicular movement in the valley to contain the spread of Covid-19, departments and their employees are separated into two groups based on the vehicle they own. Employees have to be present in the office on an alternate basis while working from home the other day. For employees traveling in public vehicles, let them pick days that suit them the best to come to work or when there is a low footfall in the office. 

3. If working remotely or coming to work remotely is not possible, shift systems are introduced with ample sanitization and disinfections between shifts. 

4. Supervisors are requested to maintain an effective monitoring tool to track the performance of their team while working from home.

5. Regular communication of tasks, progress, health updates is most necessary while working on a pandemic and should be done at least once a week.

6. Employee Handbook is revised with rules and regulations to be followed for employees coming to work during the pandemic like no smoking, bringing their lunch, maintaining social distancing from colleagues at all times, use of masks, etc. Stress on social distancing and safety policies (use of masks and sanitizers) and implement them strictly.

7. Circulating safety tips and news about the pandemic regularly

8. PCR test recommended for all employees coming in contact with a colleague who has recently been diagnosed with Covid. The test should be conducted within 5 – 7 days of the initial news, contract tracing in the workplace is important too. All employees who have come in contact with the diagnosed colleague should stay in isolation and work from home until 14 days with a light workload.

9. Clean and sanitize office doors, tables, floors every hour and disinfect the entire building at least once a day. 

10. Maintaining good air ventilation in all rooms for proper air circulation.

11. PPE can be provided with employees with the most risk of infection at the workplace.

12. Conducting a virtual counseling session for employees who have tested positive for emotional support before the isolation period has started. 

As severe the physical impact of Covid-19 on employees who have been diagnosed positive, the emotional toll it brings about to everyone around and including the colleague is also immense. Therefore, we must take each Covid spread and its diagnosis seriously and help employees come out from this difficult situation reminding them that we are all in this together and together we will have the strength to beat this.

Please feel free to add in the steps taken by your organization to contain the covid -19 spread at your workplaces which might not have been covered above and is beneficial for sharing to all in the comments section below.

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