Protecting employees during an epidemic

Protecting employees during an epidemic

The protection of your staff is of paramount importance.

As an employer, you have a duty of care for the mental and physical wellbeing of your workforce. You’re required to take all reasonable steps to guarantee both.

With the current global impact of the coronavirus epidemic, it’s more important now than ever to focus on protecting your staff especially in the hospitality sector.

Because the government has advised people to observe social distancing and stay at home, we’ve seen an increase in the number of employees now working remotely. This makes it difficult for employers to monitor and protect their staff.

In this piece, we’ll highlight tips you can implement to support your staff either working from home or onsite. It’ll focus on supporting their physical and mental health.

Tips for maintaining business as usual

To ensure the jobs of your staff, it’s important to try to keep business going as much as you can. While demand for your product or service may fall, to ensure continued business output you should:

  • Plan for continued business with a reduced workforce
  • Post signage around the hotel and surrounding areas
  • If possible, create a one-way flow system
  • Build positive relationships with suppliers
  • Develop or update company policy on sick pay, absences, flexible working, etc.
  • Conduct risk assessment to identify and eliminate possible risks
  • Identify employees essential for sustaining the business and make plans in case of their absence
  • Make health and safety training and resources easily accessible to all employees
  • Follow guidelines set out by the government
  • Remind staff and guests of the importance of washing hands frequently
  • Disinfect high traffic areas

Tips for supporting physical health

With everything going on right now, the current government advice is for people to stay at home. According to this, employees can go to work but only if it isn’t possible to work from home.

As more and more people are now working remotely for the first time, it’s important to highlight how your staff can remain physically healthy:

  • Encourage staff working with Display Screen Equipment (DSE) to take regular breaks
  • Cancel or postpone all planned face-to-face meetings
  • Encourage healthy eating
  • Provide subsidised gym memberships and offer cycle to work schemes
  • Unless self-isolating, encourage regular walks outside for fresh air
  • Encourage playing games that require active movement
  • Share stretching and flexibility exercises they can practice at home
  • If quarantined, consider indoor cycling, yoga and other online fitness classes

Tips for supporting mental health

In the UK, at any given time one in five people experience some form of mental health problem. And in times of uncertainty, this figure is even bound to increase.

With even more people now having to work from home it’s important to promote good mental health.

  • Promote awareness days
  • Maintain regular communication with employees
  • Create company mental health plan
  • Offer benefits to support mental wellbeing
  • Offer counselling
  • Maintain positive work-life balance
  • Train managers to recognise the signs of stress and depression
  • Encourage employees working from home to create a routine and try to replicate the work environment as much as possible

So, to wrap up

During uncertain times, it’s important to maintain calm and reassured employees.

Remind them that the current event isn’t going to last forever and urge them to follow the latest government guidelines.