Just when the world was recovering from the deadly delta variant of the covid-19 virus, yet another mutant has appeared. The Omicron variant, which has first detected in South Africa, is speculated to be more transmissible than the delta. Although, solid reports have not yet emerged as studies are still going on for the same.
No matter how transmissible or dangerous omicron is, it is nonetheless a concern. It fades away our hopes of the pandemic ending anytime soon. And if we have learned anything from the past, it is that precaution is better than cure. And it starts every bit true for the ongoing pandemic. So, we need to keep our guards up and be extra cautious.
Amidst all this, the good news is that, just like the virus, we have also evolved. We have learned ways in which we can keep our workplaces safe and prevent outbreaks. So what are the new ways in which we can deal with this new omicron variant? Below, we discuss some measures that organizations should take to keep their employees safe.
The best way to ensure safety from Covid-19 is through vaccination. Studies state that fully vaccinated people are likely to be infected six times less. The chances of them being hospitalized and dying of covid-19 also reduce by 12 and 14 times, respectively. According to official data, worldwide, 847 CR doses have been given, which has made 46.6% of the entire population fully vaccinated.
Even with these numbers, it has been seen that not everyone is equally motivated when it comes to vaccination. A large number of the population have reservations when it comes to vaccination. So, as employers, you should encourage vaccination through arranging for vaccination drives, paid time off, and flexible scheduling. You can tie up with hospitals to arrange for vaccination drives at your workplace.
Keep a check on the local transmission rate
With rapid vaccination and covid cases graph going down, organizations globally were asking their remote working employees to come back to the office. But with the new variant, things will have to change now. At least till the point, more information about the transmissibility rate of omicron is available.
In case the process of employees coming back has already started, you need to keep a check on the local transmission rate. If your office is situated in a place where the transmission rate is still high, it is best to keep your office doors closed and rely on remote or hybrid working. Also, if your workforce includes immunocompromised people, allow them to work remotely for as long as possible.
Ensure proper ventilation
It has been proved that the ventilation of a place does have an impact on the chance of covid outbreaks. An increased amount of air exchange amplifies the chance of the virus moving out of a place. Therefore, make sure that your office space is properly ventilated. And to do so, you don’t necessarily have to go for remodeling, you can simply consider opening up windows, reducing the use of air conditioning, and changing filtration of air-handling systems.
It is difficult to ensure proper social distancing measures with offices at full capacity. Employers are therefore calling back their employees gradually. Adopting the new hybrid work system, employees are being asked to work from the office only a certain number of days. This makes sure that the office has enough space for everyone to maintain proper social distancing. Apart from this, you also have to keep on reminding your employees to do the same. Putting up posters is a good way for the same.
Keep your masks on
Our best weapon against this deadly virus is probably our masks. It provides protection against both getting infecting others and getting infected. Therefore; we have to make sure that our masks are always up. Doesn’t matter if you are indoors or outdoors. Even fully vaccinated employees should be asked to wear their masks all the time. As for places where wearing the mask is not feasible like the cafeteria or gym, restrict the entry to only fully vaccinated people.
Go for regular testing
Irrespective of vaccination, set up plans for regular testing. With time, the symptoms of covid-19 have changed. In fact, a lot of people nowadays are asymptomatic. These people increase the chance of covid outbreaks. Regular testing will make sure that the asymptomatic people take proper measures and don’t infect other people. Considering the time taken for the virus to infect a person, weekly tests are the best options to go for.
Avoid business travels
With the emergence of the omicron variant, international travel rules are once again changing. Apart from the risk of covid, your employees may also fall prey to quarantine and travel rules. Therefore, it is best to resort to videoconferencing to conduct any business. Also, considering the environmental benefits and cost, and time of travel, cutting down travel plans is definitely the best option to go for.
Take care of your employees
The pandemic has seen an immense surge in depression and anxiety rates. Being confined in homes has had an enormous impact on everyone’s mental health. Many of your employees might also be mourning the death of their loved ones. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you support their mental health. Conducting virtual activities that benefit mental health might be a wonderful step in this way. You can also offer access to digital mental health care to your employees.
Every second new researches are coming up on covid-19. And every research is bringing into light additional facts. It is important to stay updated about the latest protocols follow them diligently to prevent outbreaks. At the same time, you also need to go away with the practices that are not relevant anymore.
This pandemic is unlike anything that we have seen or imagined. And unfortunately, it is here to stay for a little longer. To ensure safety, we have to be on our toes at all times. Be flexible e enough to change with whatever the situation demands. That’s the only way through which we can keep our business going.