Anxiety Around Returning Back to Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, most businesses are opening up and employees are being called back to work. However, most feel that conditions are not yet fully safe.
Businesses now have their work cut out for them as they need to develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan to ensure the lives of their customers and employees — and their families — remain safe. All employers must now make a risk assessment at their workplace. This means determining areas where the risk of contamination is the highest, either through contaminated surfaces or employee proximity, and implementing industry-specific protocols to minimize the risk of infection.
Below are some of the ways employers can minimize the stress for employees and provide them a safe place to work in.
Minimizing Exposure: For the time being, it is best to carry out only the core work and postpone other non-urgent work, Make sure only workers who are required for the core work are there and if possible deliver your services through phone or video if you can, instead of in-person.
Reduce Physical Contact Between Workers: Isolate workers whose work does not require the cooperation of others or who do not require special equipment that cannot be moved to an isolated area. This is particularly true for vulnerable people like the elderly, those with autoimmune conditions, and pregnant women. If workers cannot be isolated, make sure they have at least two empty desks between them.
Reduce Close Contact: If close contact cannot be avoided, ensure that two people do not remain in close proximity with each other for more than 15 minutes. Give your employees different timings to start or end their shift so that there isn’t a rush when the office opens or close. Schedule lunch timings so that people do not crowd the cafeteria or lunch room. Make sure there is only person using the bathroom at a time.
Disinfect: Place hand sanitizer gel and disinfectant wipes throughout your office and advise your workers to clean their hands frequently. Employers should also make sure the facility is kept clean and all high-contact surfaces like counters, keyboards, door handles, remote controls, and hand held tools are disinfected every day and the place is ventilated well. Also remove objects that cannot be cleaned easily like stuffed toys, newspaper, or magazines.
Limit Physical Interaction Among Customers: If it is not possible to eliminate physical interaction, you should limit it at least. Caution customers to maintain physical distances inside the facility and manage their entry so that only a few people come inside while preventing crowd outside.
Place Impervious Barriers: If your workplace is such that it is not possible to keep a 6-feet distance between workers, it is a good idea to place impervious barriers between them, like installing Plexiglas or plastic sheeting so that the risk of contamination is reduced.
Provide Necessary PPE: If you suspect or identify the risk of infection among your workers, provide the necessary PPE and train your workers on how to use it properly.
Adjust Sick Leave Policy: Communicate to your employees that they should stay at home if they develop a cough, sneeze, or fever and advise them to remain in quarantine for at least 14 days. To alleviate the stress of losing income from your employees, it is important to adjust your sick leave policies so that employees can remain paid even when they aren’t coming to work.
Provide a Support Group for Workers: Since your workers have returned to work after months of isolation, they may naturally be worried about the risk of infection. These worries can result in stress and mental health issues. Additionally, the lack of the usual coping mechanisms, like spilling out their worries to a colleague in-person, are not available.
To address the issues of mental wellbeing, you should remind your employees of using resources on self-care. Advise them to take advantage of the health benefits, particularly when it comes to their mental and emotional well-being. An easy way to know how your employees are faring is that managers can ask their workers how they are coping.
If you offer counseling or a mental health care program, make sure your employees know how to access it. If you do not, provide your workers with information on publicly available resources for advice and support or offer them contact with an occupational mental health service.
Importance of Seeking Mental Health Help At Chopra Addiction and Wellness Center
In these trying times, ma ny people can develop anxiety, depression, nightmares, irritability, suicidal thoughts, and inability to effectively work. If your employees or family members are experiencing these emotions, you need to realize that help is nearby.
At Paradise Valley Healing Center, we offer you in-person as well as Skype sessions to help you cope with these issues and get you back on your feet again.
Coping with a pandemic can be very difficult. But with the right help, it is not impossible.