There are many things a boss doesn’t want to hear, and these days, the words, “I think I have Covid-19,” are at the top of a list.
While you would think that one employee suspecting they have the Coronavirus would mainly affect them, the truth is that it affects the whole company.
As an employer, you have a certain responsibility towards the ill employee and any other employees and customers who may be impacted.
It can be not very safe to know where to start, which is why we’ve put together this list of steps you can take.
Tell them to self-isolate:
Even if your employee suspects they have Covid-19, they should self-isolate. If they end up testing negative, then it’s fine, and you took the right precautions.
This is a much better option than having them go ahead, as usual, only to find out later that they do indeed have the virus and have now spread it to other employees.
You may also want to self-isolate if you’ve been in contact with that particular employee recently. If possible, try to get everyone to work remotely for at least ten days or until you know whether that employee has the virus.
Have Them Get Tested for Covid-19:
If anyone suspects they have Covid-19, they need to have a test done, a simple as that. Unfortunately, the testing process can be quite uncomfortable, so your employee may be digging in their heels.
However, it’s your job as their superior to try and encourage them to get tested – after all; this could affect the entire company.
Some areas may only test people if they can prove they’ve been in contact with someone who tested positive.
So it can be a good idea to advise your employee to reach out to everyone they’ve been in contact with recently to see if any of them have tested positive. You can then reach out to laboratories that have saliva test kits for Covid-19.
You’re hopefully doing some sanitizing level in the office each day, but once you have a confirmed Covid-19 case, your normal method won’t work.
This is where you need to call in professionals. These people will completely sanitize your office – not an inch will be skipped.
Keep in mind that this process may take a few hours, so you might have to make arrangements for employees to work from home for that day.
This may cost you quite a bit of money, but it’s a requirement to have this done once there has been a confirmed case in many areas.
Get Other Employees Tested for Covid-19:
You’ll need to talk to the employee to find out who they were in contact with, particularly their colleagues. Then, you’ll have to encourage these employees to get tested as well.
If they don’t want to get tested, you should have them work from home – for their safety as well as everyone else’s. You may also need to get yourself tested. It’s not a fun experience, but you need to lead by example.
Assess if They Can Continue Working:
The virus affects everyone differently. Some people may feel totally fine and be entirely asymptomatic. Others may show mild symptoms but feel fine to continue working.
And, of course, some people may be so severely affected by the virus that they need to be hospitalized. It’s your responsibility to communicate with your employee.
To use your discretion to decide whether they will be able to work (albeit remotely) or whether they should take some time off.
If they aren’t used to working from home, try to support them and make things as easy as possible. They may have trouble with their internet, in which case you can refer them to this article.
The next thing you need to do is to notify customers that there has been a Covid-19 case at your workplace. This may seem like a stupid choice, but trust us, they should hear it from you.
It will be much worse if the news gets leaked and customers start assuming that you’re trying to hide something. Post something on social media.
Informing customers that there has been a positive case but that the premises have been sanitized and all necessary precautions have been taken.
Monitor Employees’ Symptoms:
You likely have employees fill in a document every day stating whether they have any symptoms of Covid-19. However, once it has been proven that someone in the work environment has contracted the virus.
It’s even more important to monitor these symptoms closely. People often write off Coronavirus symptoms since they assume it’s just a cold or allergies.
But it’s your responsibility to make sure that your employees are taking care of themselves – this means getting tested if they start showing any of these symptoms.
You need to follow up with any affected employees to see how they’re feeling. Many people believe bosses shouldn’t be involved in their employees’ personal lives at all.
But the truth is that you need to show your employees that you care for them and value them. This will also help you stay up to date on whether their symptoms are worsening or improving.
You can only allow an employee to return to work once they are fully back to normal.
Aside from the physical effects that the virus has on one’s body, there are also many negative mental effects. Having to deal with such a serious virus is sure to impact people’s mental health.
You need to offer them support in whatever way you can. Try to let them know that they do not need to stress about work. In some cases, you may need to arrange counseling services for them.
Also, keep in mind that this may affect other employees as well – they will likely be worried about their colleagues and whether they have the virus themselves, so try and boost their morale if you can.