As the days go by, and we continue to face the many challenges that come with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are slowly starting to realize that life must go on, albeit differently. For companies, this represents a shift in the way they do business. To remain successful, enterprises must adapt to a new normal. They must put in place policies that allow them to continue running operations and keep a safe environment for employees.
To do this, they should have the right testing equipment, establish clear contact tracing protocols, stay responsible, and be open-minded.
Having the Right Testing Equipment
One of the biggest problems at the beginning stages of the covid-19 pandemic was a lack of adequate testing. It meant not only an insufficient amount of testing tools but also a lack of suitable facilities, little knowledge, and misinformation.
As the months have gone by, this situation has changed. Currently, it is not only pharmaceutical companies and upper-level medical practitioners who have access to ace2 inhibitor screening services and COVID-19 testing kits. Businesses themselves, regardless of industry, now have the option of purchasing FDA approved testing equipment for commercial use.
As such, companies can keep track of who is infected and who isn’t within their ranks.
Clear Contact Tracing Protocols
The benefits of contact tracing are plenty. Aside from providing a clear road map on the spread of the disease, they permit businesses to create accurate models of infection rates and establish protocols to both prevent and react to employees acquiring it.
The important thing for companies is to have a set of specific guidelines that allow for contact tracing to happen. They include:
- Having employees within an organization fill out daily forms on whereabouts, possible exposure, and health. If companies know where their staff has been, what they have been doing, and how they feel, they will keep new infections to a minimum.
- Establishing action plans in case of a new infection. For example, companies should have a clear set of rules on isolation periods, telecommuting alternatives, and return-to-work guidelines after recovery.
- Assigning penalties to employees who do not follow the rules.
- Providing education on the importance of contact tracing and the accurate disclosure of information. If workers lie about their whereabouts or supply their employers with inaccurate data, the process won’t work.
Setting up contact tracing guidelines provides enterprises with a dual benefit. First, it limits the spread of covid-19. Second, it sets expectations on what employees should do, thus avoiding panic and avoidable mistakes from happening.
Corporate responsibility entails following government recommendations for commercial and other types of businesses. Even though these might vary based on country or region, they are pretty much the same. If the government, pharmaceutical companies, and disease control agencies believe firms should act in a certain way, it is the responsibility of management within the organization to abide by this.
If only three people are allowed in a hair salon, then only three people should be there. If supermarket customers are required to wear face shields and masks, guards and other law enforcement officials have the duty of making sure this happens.
Corporate responsibility also means understanding that health and human well-being are more important than profit. In this case, businesses should work with local governments to design counteractive measures for employee absenteeism, the shutting down of stores, and the resulting loss of sales revenue and profit.
Finally, it’s about making spaces suitable for work during a pandemic. Desks should be separated from each other. Cafeterias and company mess halls should have acrylic screens separating tables. Clear signage should be placed for employees to know what they can and what they can’t do. There should be enough alcohol, face masks, and gloves for staff to use whenever necessary.
Flexibility and Constant Change
Rules are meant to be broken. Nothing is set in stone. Although they might sound like overused cliches, they are true, especially at a time when nobody knows what the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic will be. As such, companies should remain flexible, open-minded, and realistic.
When dealing with a crisis of this size, there is nothing worse than staying rigid and stuck to past policies. Trying to deal with a different scenario using old solutions will most likely create more harm than good.
Dealing with the pandemic hasn’t been easy for anyone. Families have been affected, and governments have been forced into never-before-seen measures to prevent a complete collapse of social systems. As for businesses, they have been hit particularly hard.
Still, there are ways in which to maneuver the crisis. They include having the right testing equipment, establishing clear contact tracing protocols, focusing on corporate responsibility, and remaining flexible. Only by doing this will organizations survive this global health crisis and find themselves still standing once it’s all said and done.