As businesses around the world continue to adapt their processes and prepare to re-open to customers, you will need a combination of tools to keep employees and customers safe.
1. Accurate and Reliable Thermometers
Many organizations are using employee health screenings to quickly identify and reduce exposure risks. A key component of these screenings is taking accurate temperature readings, but this is something completely new to most organizations.
Choosing a good thermometer is crucial to capturing accurate vitals. It is worth consulting any applicable state or local emergency orders, as some recommend certain thermometers, typically one of these types:
- Digital oral thermometers: Digital thermometers are regarded as the fastest and most accurate type of thermometer. Readings are taken from under the tongue. They are found in local pharmacies and can be used at home or in the hospital.
- Electronic ear (tympanic) thermometers: These use infrared technology to get their temperature reading. Electronic ear thermometers are less accurate; if there is too much wax in the ear it can give an incorrect reading. Despite being expensive, they are a lot easier to use on babies and young children, as it can be hard to get children to sit still for long enough to use digital thermometers.
- Forehead (temporal artery thermometer) thermometers: These thermometers also read heat using infrared, and are placed on the temporal artery. Forehead thermometers are also not as reliable as digital thermometers.
Each type of thermometer works differently and has different instructions. Be sure to share details with your staff on how to accurately collect temperature data for your particular type of thermometer.
2. Personal Protective Equipment and Sanitation Supplies
For businesses where moving to completely remote procedures is not an option, new safety and sanitation processes should be adopted to protect workers and reduce risk while serving customers.
Proper protective equipment and sanitation supplies should be made available to every employee. This can include a combination of measures, including:
- PPE (masks and gloves) and related training, to ensure they are worn properly during every interaction with team members and customers;
- Cleaning supplies (bleach, disinfecting wipes, etc) to disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily;
- Disposable hygiene supplies (masks and wipes) for customers, easily available and stocked;
- Signage and floor markings to communicate new building and distancing protocols;
- Plexiglass shielding and rearrange workspaces to reduce points of contact.
3. Uniform Communication Methods
Keeping your team connected and informed is more important than ever. Whether you are sharing new documents and policies, or simply checking in with your employees, you’ll need to establish a uniform communication method for your staff.
At a basic level, this includes making sure your contact information (phone number and email address) is up to date for every team member. This is vital if you plan to use email or text messaging to share documented procedures and updates with your staff.
You can also use a messaging service (such as Discord, Slack, or WhatsApp) to share important updates with employees. Many of these platforms can also be used as an open forum for team members to share their own feedback and messages.
It’s also helpful to let customers know in advance what to expect when they encounter your staff. Workplace signage and digital advertising (emails, website banners, etc.) or your regular channels of communication (email, phone, or SMS) are great ways to speak directly to the people you serve. Customers will appreciate that you are prioritizing the safety of your team and community.
4. Secure Record Storage
As you document new procedures and collect employee health screening data, you will need a space to review and store this information.
Ideally, this would be via cloud storage, so you can access the information securely from any computer or mobile device. Digital storage saves money, removing the need for a physical storage space and reducing paperwork. It can also give you the means to share necessary information with your team through the digital communication methods that were previously mentioned.
Storing the information you collect, especially records of health screenings and cleaning protocols, may be key to protecting your business from litigation and ensuring you’re adhering to relevant regulations. Being able to easily access and share proof that you’re doing everything you’re supposed to do could be critical in the event that someone does get sick.
5. Digital Data Collection Tools
Between additional communication, new procedures, and staying informed on safety precautions, all of this may seem very daunting. But there are digital tools that will help you be able to control what you need to do, which includes finding ways to:
- Collect standardized data about employees and on-site visitors (in other words, you need people to provide information to you)
- Remind, reinforce, and require guidelines and processes for distancing, equipment wearing and maintenance, and cleaning (you need to provide information to your team)
- Update all of the above when things change
- Distribute all of the above to your entire workforce
That could look like a system of forms, including:
Automating these processes will not only help keep people safe, it will also ensure that their time is being spent doing the work you need them to do.
6. Employee Health Screening
Employee health screenings are critical (and increasingly required) tools to identify risks to the well being of your staff and customers.
During a health screening, important information such as temperature, possible symptoms, and travel history should be checked, to make sure that your employees are healthy and ready to go.
These screenings can also be used to provide details on the latest guidelines and recommendations with your staff, so they can take necessary precautions to protect themselves and your customers.
You will likely want to use a digital employee health screening solution. Using employee management apps that can be sent to an employee’s phone or a company tablet will reduce potential exposure risks from paper forms and multiple points of contact.
Clear reporting and data dashboards can provide insight into whenever symptoms or exposures are reported, so you can respond immediately, eliminating delays and additional risks to your team and business.
With the right tools, you can protect essential workers and reduce risk while serving customers.