Managing the Coronavirus: Tips for Keeping Your Staff Healthy

by Katie Sawyer, · 3 minutes

On December 31, 2019, the first cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were reported from Wuhan, China. Since then, outbreaks have been reported throughout the globe.

While large conferences are being canceled and some companies are urging their employees to work from home, others in the hourly workforce are still suiting up to go to work.

Whether you work in retail, hospitality, or any other industry, there are a few things you can do to help protect your team and your business from coronavirus. Read on for more information.

1. Stay informed

The best way to know what’s going on with coronavirus is to read the latest news.

Avoid sensational tabloid outlets and instead, opt for credible health agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO) whose website is constantly updated with new information.

2. Wash your hands

This should be a constant in your everyday life, but everyone can use a reminder. Wash your hands.

Spend at least 20 seconds underwater, lathering your hands with soap. Not sure how long 20 seconds actually is? You can sing “Happy Birthday” in your head twice, and that should about do it.

The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests you should wash your hands frequently, including:

  • After sneezing or coughing
  • Before, during, and after you prepare food
  • Before eating
  • When hands are visibly dirty

3. Keep hand sanitizer available

Hand sanitizer can benefit both your employees and your customers. Place containers of hand sanitizer at the entrance of your establishment for easy access. You can also give out disinfectant wipes for customers to use. For example, wipes can help cut down on germs on shopping carts, baskets, or even doorknobs.

4. Cover your mouth with your sleeve or elbow

You’ve likely watched a customer cough into their hand right before they give you their credit card. That’s not the way you want to start your day.

When you need to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with your sleeve or elbow. Then wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to address any residual germs.

5. Find a replacement

If you have a fever or feel unwell, don’t try to be a hero and go to work. Instead, swap shifts with someone who is healthy and looking to pick up the extra hours. Your boss will understand — and your coworkers and customers will appreciate that you kept your illness to yourself.

6. Avoid stigmatizing employees

Employers shouldn’t make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin. If you have any questions, consult your human resource or legal team to ensure your managers are creating non-biased schedules. Additionally, in partnership with your HR team, maintain confidentiality of any employees with confirmed COVID-19.

Use Deputy for smart scheduling in any situation

For managers and owners, you need the right tools to pivot your scheduling when something comes up. Here are a few tips to help you manage your scheduling effectively.

  • Communicate effectively. It’s important to have ongoing communication with your team throughout a time of uncertainty. Knowing that these situations may change quickly, use the News feed to easily broadcast messages keep everyone in the loop is key to avoiding panic or misinformation about business operations from spreading.
  • Distribute shifts fairly. Due to increased societal concern around being in public places, it may be the case that your business starts to see a decrease in trade volume, ultimately resulting in a decreased staffing needs. To reduce the extent to which this financial strain is passed on to your team, it’s important to try and ensure all members are receiving the same minimum number of shifts across the schedule. Automate your scheduling to help distribute shifts fairly and quickly.
  • Track and replace absentees. The last thing you want is to be left short staff, or worse have an unwell employee come into work because there is no one to cover their shift. Use Deputy’s Leave Management feature to quickly replace an employee that calls in sick without having to do the ring around.
  • Optimize your labor costs. Your scheduling needs to scale up and scale down as your business changes. Align labor needs with sales forecasts to reduce your wage bill and optimize staffing levels so you only have the staff you need — when you need them.

Keep your team safe

When you work in a pub, a hardware store, or a cafe, it’s easy to forget about how many people your staff interacts with. And while you can’t ensure everyone who walks into your establishment is healthy, you can help your employees stay safe.

If you have questions about what else leaders in the retail and hospitality industry are doing in response to coronavirus, reach out to Deputy.

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