Pandemic Checklist: How Businesses Can Prepare
(PropertyCasualty360.com) Last week, we shared information on ways individuals can prepare themselves for a possible pandemic. This week, were are sharing information regarding ways you can prepare your business as well as your staff. Encourage sick employees to stay home. Suspend requirements for notes from healthcare providers — those offices are likely to be extremely busy, and it’s better to keep those with the virus away from others. Employees should not return to work unless they are free of a fever (100.4 degrees) for at least 24 hours without the use of medications to reduce the fever. Extend sick leave so that employees do not feel impelled to come to work because they have bills to pay.
Pandemic preparation checklist for Businesses:
1. Separate any employees that arrive at work with a respiratory illness or develop one during the day and send them home immediately.
2. Encourage employees to work remotely if they are able to.
3. If remote work isn’t possible, allow employees to stagger shifts.
4. Test remote and staggered shifts now before you are in an emergency situation to work out any possible kinks that might arise.
5. Allow employees to stay home to care for ill family members. People can have the virus and not have symptoms; those with ill family members could have it as well and not know it.
6. Provide tissues and no-touch trash cans; post hygiene reminders.
7. Develop a communication plan to keep employees up to date on the status of the virus. Ensure employees know what the communication plan is.
8. Develop an activation plan and ensure all employees know what to expect.
9. Assess staffing — what work is critical, and which employees can do those tasks. Unless required to work together, consider separating them so there is less chance of all critical employees getting ill at once.
10. Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (doorknobs, desks, keyboards, etc.) can be regularly wiped down.
11. Reconsider employee travel; limit it to what is essential. Schedule video conferences or use other remote conferencing technology. Advise employees to have plans in the event of getting stuck in an area that becomes quarantined because of the virus. Will you extend employee sick leave or paid vacation if an employee is ill or trapped in a quarantine zone?
12. Provide alcohol-based hand rubs around the office and encourage their use. Place them in open areas, conference rooms, kitchen and break rooms.
13. Encourage employees who become ill while traveling or on temporary assignment to contact their supervisor and medical provider if needed.
14. Perform routine cleaning of the office (weekly). Ensure that surfaces are wiped down.
15. Employers should review insurance coverage; is business income/interruption coverage on the current policy? Will it provide coverage for a shutdown because of the action of civil authority, such as a quarantine?
16. Are there liability and workers’ compensation coverages in place if employees or customers catch the virus at the business location?
17. Are there alternative supply sources if business products are unavailable from China or other locales?
18. Stock up on basic office supplies as well as supplies needed for production and other work tasks.
19. Can the business operations be conducted at alternate locations if the current location is quarantined?
20. If employees are not cross-trained for key tasks, begin cross-training now to avoid gaps in production.