The virus crisis has changed so much about work and the workplace. According to guidance from ADP, "As of March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has met the direct-threat standard referred to above, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)." That means screening protocols will be in place in the workplace until the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or public officials revise their assessment.
Policy decisions for business owners.
Many companies are working hard to implement new policies to guide their employees and clients based on what is currently known about COVID. Here are some basic precautions you might experience when you reenter the workplace for the first time since quarantine:
- Your temperature might be taken upon entering the workplace to ensure everyone is healthy and ready for work.
- You might be issued a face mask and expected to wear it while working.
- Some employees will be expected to telework for an extended period of time.
- Physical space separations may be in place, for example, partitions between employees.
- Meetings may continue to be conducted via computer.
- You might be asked to maintain a work station strictly separate from others. One example: Only every other register might be open at retail establishments.
- Sharing tools, food, or drinks could be discouraged.
- Six-foot floor marks might be placed on the floors to indicate where you and customers can wait and stand.
- Group gatherings may be prohibited.
- Business travel could be discouraged.
- Hand shaking could be discouraged.
- Visitors in office spaces will be discouraged.
Sharing is caring… Well, maybe not these days with regard to coffee or lunch. However, knowing and implementing these basic precautions can save lives. The CDC is encouraging all workplaces to modify their policies to include an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan in an effort to reduce transmission among employees and maintain a healthy work environment for their continued operation.
Want to learn more? Visit www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf to view the new Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 and learn what steps you can take to keep.