Coronavirus disease is a viral infectious disease caused by COVID-19, a newly discovered coronavirus. The coronavirus infects the respiratory system leading to pneumonia that can be fatal. The people infected with COVID-19 experiences mild to moderate lung complaints and should recover without special treatment. However, people with a low level of immunity, older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory illness are likely to develop serious illness.
To prevent and slow down transmission, it is necessary to get well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the way how it spreads, and protect oneself and others from getting infected. It is necessary to follow respiratory etiquette and personal hygiene. Owing to the recent breakdown, most of the countries are under lockdown to decrease the spread of this disastrous virus.
All the organizations across the world have got habituated to remote work culture. Recent literature and reports have suggested that the incubation period of the virus is 14 days. The individuals tested positive for COVID-19 should self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days. The individuals have a 14-day window period to self-quarantine ensuring they are no longer contagious or infected. Self-quarantine is essential to mitigate the risk of virus spread to others. Also, there is a 14-day window before the individual testing positive.
Given this serious circumstance, organizations across the world have resorted to ‘work from home’ mode of office activity to check the spread of the virus among employees in the workplace.
Amidst all these precautionary setups, what an organization can do when their employee gets tested positive for COVID-19. This is a serious question to be answered and the organizations must get prepared themselves to handle these situations. The HR leader’s role has a significant contribution to the life of these employees, boosting the morality level of the individuals and other employees as well.
Let us understand what HR leaders can do when their employees notify their employers regarding the situation. Here is a list of step-by-step practical considerations to maintain harmony and humanity in the workplace during this COVID-19 crisis.
Steps to follow by the employers when their employee get tested positive for COVID-19
- Show empathy and concern to the infected employee as a human.
- Instruct the employee to self-quarantine and stay at home for at least 14 days.
- Instruct them to contact a qualified healthcare provider or their physician to determine the period, indication of symptoms, and other facts.
- Assure the employee that their name will not be revealed to the coworkers as per the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).
- Establish the relevant 28-day period with facts. It is necessary to list out the employees with whom they had contact in the recent 14 days. And, provide a self-quarantine period of 14 days to mitigate the risk of infection spread.
- If necessary, it is critical to test the employees who got in touch with the infected employee and follow the same procedure if any of them get tested positive.
- The employer should sanitize the areas used by the employee immediately by a qualified professional or as per guidelines from the CDC.
- Encourage the employees to work remotely if possible, depending on the situation or entitle the employee for paid sick leave.
- Encourage employees to contact the HR department for further queries and assistance.
- Stay calm and ensure that employee wellness is the top priority of the organization and provide moral support. Do not fire the employee.
At this critical time, the HR leaders need to keep up the spirit of all the employees, reassure them with positive responses, and make them feel secure.
The message you convey during this crisis period also shows how employees are treated. It will fetch your business and reputation on a long-term basis.