2020 has been a crazy and dangerous year. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted a lot of lives and continues to do so through the winter months. Unfortunately, this collides directly with the start of the new flu season. The flu is difficult to deal with, even in a normal year. This year has been far from normal, however, and flu preparations must change accordingly. Those who are not prepared for this year’s flu are risking their health by doing so.
Let’s take a look at some ways to stay prepared for flu season this year.
As experts continue to learn more about COVID-19, there are basics they advise people to follow. One of the common phrases we hear these days is “social distance”. A distance of six feet or more is recommended between you and someone outside of your household. So, facilities should keep this in mind with their operations. Jobs that previously required two employees to stand right next to each other may need to be re-evaluated. Even if six feet is not achievable, plastic or plexiglass dividers can work in many instances.
While the true effectiveness of these dividers is unclear, the CDC does recommend their use.
Use markings to indicate safe spaces where six feet of social distance can be achieved. Many retail stores, for example, use these in checkout lines to help guide shoppers to a safer in-store experience. Facilities with hundreds of employees can use this type of method in areas with heavy foot traffic. It’s difficult to constantly maintain six feet of distance while on the job. However, preventative measures can be taken to limit those instances and help keep the workplace safe.
Compare Current Plan to Current Advice
Dealing with the flu and a pandemic at the same time hasn’t exactly been common in recent history. As a result, many companies do not have solidified plans for how to deal with this phenomenon. Therefore, business owners should review their current flu plan thoroughly. A great resource to compare the plan to would be the local health department. Many provide easily accessible guidelines and recommendations right on their front page for businesses to follow. This is important since businesses act as “points of spread” for germs and disease. Keeping an up-to-date plan is the responsible thing to do and can help save lives.
Reviewing Sick-Leave Policies
Inevitably, some employees will contract the flu or COVID-19 and will be forced to take time off work. This is when having ironed out sick-leave policies will come in handy. There are all sorts of questions that sick employees around the world are asking their employers. People need to know how long they will be paid while out, how much they will be paid and a host of other questions. Public health recommendations may dictate these policies, so companies should be sure to at least follow those guidelines. If workers find that sick-leave policies go against health recommendations, legal action could follow. Reviewing and updating these policies is good practice anyway, even outside of a pandemic-infused flu season. Around 70% of employers provide sick-leave policies, so employees who have them certainly value that. Staying flexible with these is a good idea as well since there continues to be much unknown about COVID-19.
Purchase Ample Supplies
People today are hoarding sanitizer and cleaning supplies. It may be unwarranted in many instances, but some just want to be ready in case the pandemic continues to trend in a bad direction. Employees deserve to have access to proper sanitizer while at work to help slow the spread of disease. Business owners should make sure they have plenty of supplies in stock for their employees to use. Especially now, workers are washing their hands and sanitizing more than ever. Keeping sanitizer resupplied consistently will help employees feel safe and keep them healthy.
As the COVID-19 vaccine continues to roll out across the United States, companies should consider reviewing their vaccine policy. Whether it is required or not to take a vaccine, the policy should be uniform for all employees. This maintains consistency if nothing else. Plus, if the policy requires vaccination, uniformity helps workers feel safe knowing those they work with have been vaccinated. Also, consider what needs to be done if taking the annual flu vaccine is not required. There should be protocols in place to limit the transmission of disease throughout the facility.
Some business owners will take initiative and set up a flu shot clinic on-site for employees. Coworkers can confidently take the shot alongside one another and not have to worry about missing any work.
All of the aforementioned steps are great ones to take when getting your facility ready for flu season. However, having those in place is just the start. The key to successful implementation is sound and clear communication. Let’s say a cleaning assignment list is complete with each staff member having a designated task. First and foremost, that list needs to be communicated asap to those on it. Also, details need to be shared. Who fills in for a certain task if the usual person responsible is out sick that day? How often are certain tasks to be completed? Little questions like that often go overlooked. So when those situations arise, a lot of head-scratching goes on. That can get frustrating quickly, so it’s best to be prepared and have a detailed plan.
Reach Out to Professionals
The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything we have ever experienced as a society. There are still so many unknowns and uncertainties with how to proceed in the future. The fear and anxiety that people are dealing with are certainly understandable. Trying to keep a facility ready for the flu, on top of the coronavirus, can be an intimidating task. Fortunately, there are professionals available to help. Dallas Janitorial Services has those professionals. They are an experienced and reliable team that has the knowledge to help serve you. From a small office to a larger factory, they can handle any space. They tailor a plan to meet the needs of their clients and offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact Dallas Janitorial Services today to receive a free estimate and set up an appointment!