Given today's dynamic and uncertain business environments, it is important to have emergency response efforts to handle the Covid-19 crises. The emergency response measures should be able to handle crises quickly and ensure business continuity. This blog deals with a crucial part of the Covid-19 response management plan of managing quarantined employees.
The following section talks about key response mechanisms that businesses should adopt in case an employee needs to undergo quarantine.
The first step towards managing quarantined employees is incident reporting. Employees may need to undergo quarantine for a variety of reasons. Either the employees may report sick because of symptoms or have come in close contact with a Covid-19 patient. Whatever the quarantine's underlying cause, the incident needs to be logged so that appropriate actions can be taken according to the guidelines recommended by public health organizations.
An automated incident reporting mechanism where employees can report the incident can prove extremely useful to manage and activate appropriate trigger responses.
The next step might be to approve the employee's quarantine request. Depending on the employee's health condition and nature of job, the employee can decide to work from home or take time off. An automated workflow can help to process the approval of quarantine immediately by reaching out to the appropriate and approved set of people like the manager, HR or health & safety team and can help in planning work continuity better.
As soon as an incident comes to light, it is essential to take quick actions to minimize the risk of the disease spreading. The first step here is contact tracing. It is necessary to trace coworkers who had been in "close contact" with the employee in the prior two weeks.
Communicating the incident to all close contacts of the employee is crucial. It would be best to inform everyone who was possibly exposed to the covid-19 positive employee at work without revealing the employee's identity.
A quick communication channel to alert the close contacts of the employee is essential. It is natural for people in the close-contact group to be nervous. It is also necessary to alert other employees in the workplace. An automated workflow that can notify necessary employees visa SMS, email can be very instrumental to spread the communication.
The next important step is to sanitize the workspace thoroughly. The CDC has laid out strict guidelines for cleaning offices after someone tests positive for Covid-19.
For example, as per the CDC guidelines it is required to clean and disinfect all areas used by the staff member, such as bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, and remote controls. It is also advised to disinfect frequently touched surfaces including doorknobs, tabletops, counters, phones, keyboards, and fixtures. An automated workflow that can notify sanitization team with their tasks can be very instrumental to take immediate sanitization tasks.
More detailed guidelines are available on the CDC website.
It is confusing and chaotic to understand the absence of employees without a proper tracking mechanism. It is therefore essential to have some automated, reliable timekeeping system that accurately tracks employee schedules and absences when they are in quarantine. A convenient dashboard system that gives a granular look of things like special days and shifts or looks at overall patterns, trends, and seasons can prove to be very useful. There should be ways of sharing this report with affected teams and managers so they can plan accordingly and schedule their work better.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] defines "close contact" as "a person that has been within six feet of the infected employee for a prolonged period of time.
Communication plays a crucial role when employees are away from work, in quarantine, and generally worried about their well being. In such a scenario constant communication from the workplace helps. An effective communication channel like a portal that broadcasts important news and updates about the company can prove effective.
Public Health organizations have laid guidelines on getting quarantined employees back to work. These guidelines should be brought into practice and communicated to all employees. Companies should address employee concerns about the safety of returning by focusing communications on the actions being taken to protect them, including workplace cleaning, screening policies, and changes being made to allow social distancing. This information should be shared in regular pushed communications such as email, as well as through a common portal or intranet sites.
To know more about ‘return-to-work’ processes refer our blog here.
An unanticipated situation like this can cause much stress and anxiety. Therefore, organizations must be open and transparent to put their employees at ease. Office policies, new measures to ensure employee safety, overseas travel plans must be communicated effectively. Updates and newsfeeds via a portal or an app can help in a big way.
AQL's Covid-19 Response Application (CRA) enables employees to notify their health status. Using contact tracing, the application also notifies the immediate work contacts in the case of Covid-19 positive colleague.
AQL's CRA has an entire emergency and notification management module built on Microsoft Cloud platform to assist businesses in their Covid-19 emergency response efforts.
Below are some of the value offerings from the application:
AQL's Covid-19 response tool helps you effectively manage quarantine employees and putting them at ease. To know more about the tool, write to us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website aqltech.com.
Request A Demo To request a demo call 1 800 798 3439 or write to us at email@example.com .For more information visit: www.aqltech.com/ covid-19