More than half of American employees are worried about getting the coronavirus at work, according to a new poll by Eagle Hill Consulting. Fortunately, businesses are taking many important steps to protect their vulnerable employees from exposure while attempting to keep the morale high.
Flexibility Pays Off
Some companies that can’t keep their employees working from home are offering alternative schedules to keep as few people clustered together simultaneously as possible, says Martin Seeley, CEO of Mattress Next Day.
Warehouse employees are in danger of being exposed because they share common workspace equipment, so Seeley says he’s been offering his warehouse employees flexible schedules with morning, afternoon and night shifts to reduce the number of people working at the same time.
“Flexible schedules also had a positive impact on employee morale, as those with family issues or childcare could adjust their schedules to take care of their commitments,” he says.
Seeley added smaller changes, such as giving walkie-talkies to warehouse employees to prevent them from getting too close to each other if the noise makes it difficult to hear.
Indoor Air Quality
Other companies are putting more focus on the indoor air quality.
Tony Abate, an expert on airborne transmission of viruses, and Vice President and Chief Technical Officer at AtmosAir Solutions in Fairfield, Conn., says companies including Empire State Realty Trust, Brookfield, Goldman Sachs, and others have installed bi-polar ionization to their existing or new HVAC systems.
“These BPI devices have tested more than 99.9 percent effective in neutralizing coronavirus,” Abate says. “The devices are similar to the old Pac-Man game: Ions are emitted into the air seeking, attacking and neutralizing coronavirus in the air and on surfaces.”
Mental Health and Wellness
There’s also the mental health aspect of the workplace.
To retain employees and raise their morale during these difficult times, some employers are spending extra time reassuring their employees that their jobs are safe.
“I have let them know that we will retain them all, and their benefits will remain intact,” says Joseph Salim, Owner and Founder of Sutton Place Dental Associates. “We will not reduce their hours, increase their workload or freeze their benefits.”
Other companies have tried different approaches. Willie Greer, founder of The Product Analyst, says every company is doing their best at a time when no one came prepared for this.
“Keeping employee morale high - or at least stable, is one of the most challenging situations we had to face, especially that our business relies on creativity and outputs,” Greer says.
So he gives each employee a wellness package every month to show them that he values their emotional and mental health.
On-Site COVID-19 Testing
Other companies are proactively providing free on-site COVID-19 testing to their employees in order to boost morale while preventing infections.
Allen Harris, Founder of BMM, and his team had been in a panic, experiencing all sorts of coronavirus-related challenges to maintaining their business operations.
He had been sending employees to a community testing site, but that option wasn’t fast or reliable enough for their day-to-day needs. Then he found our Workplace Health program, which helps businesses prevent and contain COVID-19 outbreak in the most comprehensive way possible.
“We’re doing this much faster than I had thought, which I appreciate very much. That’s on me for not realizing how efficient your turnaround is. I’m impressed, and thank you.” Allen Harris, Founder, BMM
These are all steps in the healthiest direction.