Creating a Healthy Workplace for Today and Tomorrow

Creating a Healthy Workplace for Today and Tomorrow

The impact of coronavirus is affecting nearly every aspect of society, and the workplace is no exception. As an organization committed to putting “People First,” Alaant Workforce Solutions urges employers to be proactive in protecting the health and safety of their most precious resource – their workforce – even as the business world moves ever forward.

The well-being of employees should always be the highest priority of any organization. As this challenging situation continues to unfold, companies should be viewing it through two lenses – short term and long term – as they take steps to safeguard their workers and address their business needs. Below, we have prepared a series of recommendations to assist employers in that regard.

Short-term actions

  • Evaluate and address your work environment. Thoroughly clean and disinfect the workspace, within reception areas, cubicles, offices and conference rooms, while also paying special attention to common surfaces and locations, such as cafeteria tables and chairs, restrooms, doorknobs, elevator buttons, and the like. Repeat this process as often as possible. Be sure to make hand sanitizers and disinfection wipes available throughout the workplace. 
  • Review your work practices. Offer telecommuting options for those who can work productively from home. Consider whether internal meetings must be conducted in person, or whether the same goals can be accomplished using telephone and/or video conference calls. Similarly, wherever possible, limit outside visitors to your office and reduce out-of-office meetings and travel. 
  • Communicate with your employees. Continuing openness and transparency with your staff is essential. It reinforces their value not only as employees, but more importantly, as people. Let them know the steps you’re taking to protect their health and safety; be certain they know to stay home if they’re sick; and provide information from trusted sources – such as The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and county and state health departments – on preventative measures they can take to reduce the spread of germs and bacteria. Also, be sure employee contact information is up to date so information can reach them at anytime.

Long-term actions 

  • Review your corporate policy on sick days. Is it plainly stated that employees should not come to work when they’re sick? Are the types of illnesses that should keep employees home, from colds to upper-respiratory illnesses, clearly defined? Now is the time to update existing protocols, and develop new ones as appropriate.
  • Review your corporate procedures for telecommuting. Be certain that expectations for employees are made clear, from availability to productivity. Ensure employees have access to the technology and equipment they need to work effectively. And be sure cyber-protections are in place to protect the confidentiality and security of vital company and client information.
  • Review your organization’s travel policies. Is there a process for evaluating travel requests that takes into account potential threats, health or otherwise? Do you have protocols in place for employees returning from areas that have experienced an issue? Make those a priority as you assess and update that area.
  • Review and/or establish an emergency response plan. Is there a plan in place, outlining key teams, roles and responsibilities, so that mission-critical work gets done even amid a significant outbreak of illness or disaster? Gather key personnel, from operations and finance to IT and HR, to develop procedures to avoid panic and enable work to go on.

While the impact of illness on the workplace has been with us long before coronavirus, the current concerns should serve as a wake-up call for employers to put policies in place that protect their employees, shield their businesses, and preserve our collective economic future.

As always, if we can assist in helping organizations address workplace-related issues, we are a phone call or email away.

About the Author

Miriam Dushane

Miriam Dushane, Managing Partner

Miriam is all in when it comes to doing whatever she can to help the Capital District grow and thrive. She is passionate about helping talented professionals find the right job and her work in the community is focused on furthering our area as a center of economic vitality. Miriam likes to garden and care for her pets. She is a member of an adult-only skate group where she rollerblades every week. She loves the Mets! And she is obsessed with vacuum cleaners; she really likes to vacuum and has 6 right now.

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