The coronavirus has currently claimed 2,000 lives worldwide and there are estimated to be 80,000 people affected in the world at the moment.
Whist the risk of catching COVID-19 (otherwise known as coronavirus) is relatively low, many employers will be faced with questions over hygiene and it is important for employees to know what to do and how to keep safe.
Not only can practicing good hygiene help to reduce the risk of catching coronavirus at work, it can also help to prevent the spread of other diseases that can cause employees to become unwell.
Sickness amongst employees can reduce their workplace wellbeing, their physical health, and further the efficiency of the workplace.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that in 2018, employers lost an estimated 141.4 million work days due to sickness and/or injury. If both employees and employers do not take necessary steps, this number could rise significantly, damaging the health of staff and the productivity of the business.
One of the main things employees need to do to prevent the spread of coronavirus around the office is to speak up. Some members of staff may be concerned about going into work and catching the virus, especially if it’s near any areas where people have been found to have it. Employees should speak up about these fears, and employers should listen to them.
If an employee is feeling unwell, particularly in the current situation, they should listen to their bodies and not force themselves into work. This could help to prevent the spread of the virus from reaching the workplace. Employees should also let their employer know when they’ve visited high-risk areas for the coronavirus (e.g. Wuhan in China or northern Italy).
Additionally, all employees should be hygienic in the workplace, as this can help to safeguard the health of the workforce from infections and diseases.
According to hygiene experts, Trovex, employees should keep surfaces hygienic, washing hands when necessary and making sure spaces such as the toilets and eating areas are cleaned regularly.
What Employers Should Do With Coronavirus
Employers should also make it clear to employees the importance of staying at home when ill. This can help to encourage employees to take time off when they’re feeling unwell, which can help to prevent infection not only of COVID-19, but other debilitating illnesses.
Whilst employers are not legally obligated to pay for leave solely due to self-isolation or quarantine, it might be beneficial in preventing the spread of infection for employers to offer sick leave for these situations. Otherwise, employees who cannot afford to have time off unpaid, even when they’ve been told to self-isolate, could come into work and potentially infect a whole workforce.