We know there’s a lot of fear and uncertainty around Coronavirus (COVID-19) currently. Between the media updates, news stories, and CDC and WHO warnings, it’s understandable. The health and safety of our GigSmart Workers, Requesters, and each other is our top priority, so we wanted to share some recommendations on ways you can better prepare for and communicate to your employees concerning the situation surrounding COVID-19.
Do your research
It’s important to know the basics of the virus, how it’s spread, symptoms to look out for, and how to protect yourself and others from getting it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are some important things to know about COVID-19:
- COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person contact. It can also be spread by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
- The symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
- If you believe you are infected with COVID-19, you are urged to stay home except to receive medical help. You should cover your mouth and nose with a tissue every time you cough or sneeze and always wash your hands immediately after. Whenever possible, you should wear a facemask around others (cohabitants, medical professionals, etc.).
- There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
Take steps to protect yourself. Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Make sure to schedule hand-washing breaks throughout your workday to mitigate your chances of getting infected.
The cleaner, the better
Make sure you are cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
Check out CDC’s website to see some disinfecting options.
Have a game plan
With new updates hitting employee’s phones every minute, it’s crucial to have a plan in mind, so your staff feels calm and confident in their workplace. Make sure to:
- Communicate with your team often and keep them in the loop on all planned changes and your expectations
- Encourage sick employees to stay home, and consider initiating a temporary paid sick leave policy (see more details below)
- Limit or restrict all non-essential, work-related travel
- If possible, encourage employees to work from home
- Provide disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, and tissues, and place trash cans near all doors so they can be opened using tissues or paper towels
If you haven’t yet ventured into the work from home/remote work world, there are many tools and technologies that will enable you and your employees to stay productive and connected. At GigSmart, we use Slack to send internal messages and discuss important initiatives. We also rely on Zoom to connect us, our clients, partners, and customers via video and audio conferencing. In addition, several of our teams rely on project management software, like Basecamp, to keep everyone in the loop on important deliverables and to-dos.
Many technology companies are doing their best to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Most have offered free functionality to allow others to try out versions of their products in the wake of this uncertain time.
If you’re in a high-risk area, consider the ways you can empower your employees to stay healthy and safe. Create communication plans and check-in procedures to keep your teams connected and update them frequently as things change and progress, so they know exactly what is expected of them.
Because there is still much unknown about COVID-19, many people are being extra cautious when sick, choosing to stay home even if they’re experiencing minor symptoms. This is vital in helping to prevent the spread of the virus, and being flexible on sick leave policies during this pandemic is recommended.
The Colorado Restaurant Association shared the below sample policy created by the Fisher and Phillips Law Firm:
Sample Temporary Paid Sick Leave Policy
On March 10, 2020, the state of Colorado was declared to be in a state of emergency due to the coronavirus. While the state of emergency is in place, employees may take up to four (4) paid sick days if they are exhibiting flu-like symptoms and being tested for coronavirus. This paid sick leave is not to be used for vacation or personal time off. After the four paid sick days are exhausted, employees may take unpaid sick leave or any available paid-time-off until they are cleared for work by a physician. Each employee who utilizes sick leave under this section will need to present a release from a physician upon returning to work. Employees will not be compensated for unused sick days when they leave their employment.
We encourage you to utilize the above policy as a template for creating or updating your sick policy. Putting policies in place will help everyone better understand what to do in the unfortunate situation they don’t feel well and don’t want to infect others.
Train yourself with GigSmart’s COVID-19 Worker Safety Training
To supplement the information in this post, we’ve created a COVID-19 Worker Safety Training to help you learn more about how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. We welcome you to take our short, free COVID-19 training to further understand and prevent the spread of the virus. The training consists of information about COVID-19, its symptoms, and precautionary measures we have sourced from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition, it will cover how to safely work Gigs in the Get Gigs app. At the end of the training, you will be asked to take a short quiz to review what you’ve learned.
GigSmart is committed to the safety and health of our users, and these extra precautions should be taken to prevent you from being infected with COVID-19. Make sure to use the CDC or WHO websites as a guide for all COVID-19 related questions and concerns, as they will be the most current and informative resources on this topic. We will continue to monitor the situation and will send out updates and communications as needed.