We are all tired of hearing about COVID-19 and the way it’s affected so many aspects of our lives.
The good news is that doctors are slowly starting to become more efficient at treating the virus and progress is being made toward a vaccine.
The bad news is that cases are continuing to climb in the United States and COVID isn’t showing any sign of going away soon, especially with a predicted surge in cases during the Fall.
Knowing that the virus will continue to affect our lives for the foreseeable future, we have spoken with our customers who have done an incredible job at leading their organizations through the crisis.
They were able to give me more advice than can fit in this post, but the majority of their insights could be grouped into one main category: the creation of innovative policies.
But before we get into policies, there is one key step that everyone I spoke with has taken and continues to pursue:
This was the first action mentioned in every conversation I had with our customers. As state laws dictate the allowable populations in buildings, managers have to figure out how to get as many people working off site as possible without sacrificing productivity.
By keeping as many people out of the office as possible, those who need to go in have less risk of getting infected and have an easier time maintaining a safe distance from others.
For labs, this means setting up administrative workers with the equipment they need to work off site so that lab techs and others with lab responsibilities can work safely.
Sometimes this involves shifting responsibilities among staff. Others were able to use cloud-based softwares like Qualtrax, Zoom, Microsoft teams and Google Drive to take their work online.
Many of our customers are surprised with how much of their work can be done remotely, saving them time and money and keeping their coworkers safe.
Employees are the greatest asset an organization has and treating them well is how you keep loyal staff and their talents long term. So creating policies that protect your workforce is essential in ensuring business continuity during crises like COVID-19.
As you can imagine, the policies that our customers shared are diverse and may not apply to every organization. However, here are a few that stood out:
Some organizations, like labs, have a large part of the workforce who need to be physically in the lab in order to perform their duties. But having people in your building means there is a chance that someone could come in with the virus and give it to others.
In order to bring down the population in the building, try breaking away from the traditional office hours you once held. This will also be helpful for staff as they are having to balance shifting responsibilities at home, like children learning virtually from home.
If you’re able to get a portion of your staff to work offsite, video conferencing is key for maintaining communication and relationships while away from the office.
However, one of our customers requires that meetings be held over zoom even among employees who are working together in the office. This avoids the gathering of multiple employees in a single room yet allows for collaboration and “face-to-face” interaction.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker receives 7 days of sick leave per year. While that may seem normal, we now know that exposure to COVID-19 requires you to quarantine for at least 14 days. Those who contract COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization, can take between three and six weeks to fully recover. This goes way beyond the average sick leave for the American worker.
With that in mind, many of our customers are doubling and tripling the amount of vacation and sick time they allow their employees.
This can also cut down on people considering whether or not to come to work while experiencing symptoms of the illness.
There are so many ways you can encourage healthy practices in your organization. One way is to post signs and reminders around the office about the importance of social distancing, washing hands and staying home if you’re feeling sick.
Another way to encourage healthy behavior is to provide masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer for staff.
One organization I spoke with is even providing mobile plastic shields that employees can take with them around the office. As employees are expected to move around the office to access various stations, these mobile shields allow for protection from others who may get too close.
They also were able to onboard and train employees properly while using these mobile shields.
Qualtrax is a cloud-based software designed to streamline accreditation management, document control, process automation and testing and training.
Adopting our software allows you to take control of your compliance, simplify document organization, automate workflows, and train employees efficiently and effectively. What’s even better, Qualtrax opens up new possibilities of managing your organization remotely.
For our customers, it’s been a game-changer in allowing staff to work from home without losing momentum or production.