Current government advice is for everyone to work from home if possible. However, for many, this isn’t possible, which may be a source of anxiety as cases of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 surge. While this is difficult at any time, Christmas is particularly tough as many will have family plans they do not want to jeopardise. If working from home is not an option at your workplace this festive season, there are some measures you can take to provide reassurance for yourself and your staff.
Handwashing and cleaning has been key to tackling the pandemic since the beginning and remains as relevant as ever. Implementing a thorough and regular cleaning routine is vital, as well as having hand sanitiser and handwashing facilities easily accessible for staff and customers alike.
Decide whether it is 100% necessary for visitors from outside the workplace to come onto the premises. Meetings, for example, can take place over Zoom or other video conferencing sites, limiting physical contact. For some workplaces, such as shops, hospitality or gyms, it is impossible to ban visitors and remain open, but there may be other measures that can be taken, such as limiting the numbers or providing social distancing measures on the premises.
Set up a testing routine
Asymptomatic transmission allows Covid to spread easily. One way to stop this is to set up a regular testing routine for your employees, where they are supplied with a rapid antigen test to take at home. This can help prevent a serious outbreak in the workplace and provide reassurance to both staff and customers. Matrix Diagnostics can provide Oxfordshire businesses with batches of rapid antigen tests with an accuracy rate of 98.6% compared to laboratory PCR tests, so each employee can take a Covid-19 test before coming to work.
Rethink Christmas celebrations
Christmas is often a busy and festive time at work with parties, drinks and other events. If your workplace is holding an event this Christmas, it is worth taking a look to see if any adjustments can make it safer. To include everyone, consider having some festive event that everyone, even those uncomfortable with large gatherings, can join in, such as Zoom quizzes, Christmas jumper days and ‘quarantining’ secret Santa gifts for a few days before handing them out.
With the booster vaccination program underway, make it easy for your employees to get their first, second or booster vaccination at the earliest opportunity. Far less worktime will be lost by an employee leaving early one day to get vaccinated than if they require 10 days off work due to Covid and have infected others.
Adequate ventilation reduces how much virus is in the air. Ventilation can be mechanical such as air ducts and fans, or natural through open doors and windows. If using the latter method, remember to adjust the dress code as necessary in the colder weather.
Good communication of all Covid safety measures is essential to keeping Oxfordshire workplaces safe. Demonstrating a commitment to employees’ wellbeing will also boost morale, making the workplace a merrier one over the festive period.