You would have seen the recent and increased press coverage regarding the Coronavirus outbreak and the effects this is starting to have on businesses and economies across the globe. The virus, which started in China, has spread at a fast rate, mainly aided by air travel between countries.
To date, there have been around 3058 global deaths as a result of the disease. Those affected the most are people that already have an underlying medical condition or respiratory problem, have a weakened immune system or are elderly.
As a business owner, or anyone who works in the public domain, you may be starting to feel worried about this. You may have seen some schools closed – especially if they have just returned from a school trip to Italy (the third most affected country to date.) Some GP surgeries may also have temporarily closed if they have suspected a case of coronavirus in their surgery. These are all highly precautionary measures at this stage.
The main message here is not to panic. Although the cases of Coronavirus across the UK are slowly increasing, the government says the UK is prepared for all eventualities and is working on containing any outbreaks.
As a business owner or employee, you can make several steps to inform your workforce and spread the correct messages, so that everyone is fully prepared.
Spotting Symptoms Quickly
One main thing you can do is make everyone in your company aware of the symptoms of Coronavirus – and what to do if you feel you could have the disease or have encountered someone with the disease.
Symptoms include shortness of breath, a very high fever, a dry cough, muscle pain and headache. You will likely feel very unwell with this disease. If you recognise these symptoms, it is important to self-isolate and call the NHS on 111.
It is a good idea to send round a detailed email for information to everyone working in your company. You can explain how closely you are monitoring the situation and how you will be following NHS advice. This will help employees feel informed and keep you all on the same page.
Staying Hygienic in the Office
You need to ensure your workplace is clean and is a healthy environment in which to work. Make sure that sides are cleaned regularly and door handles and toilets are disinfected. You should also throw away any tissues that have been used and wash your hands immediately. If you can’t sneeze into a tissue, use your sleeve! Try and contain the sneeze so that any germs do not spread. You should avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
You must encourage everyone around you to wash your hands regularly. Use soap or sanitiser gel, and wash with warm water. One trick is to sing “Happy Birthday” twice – this is the recommended amount of time it should take to wash your hands thoroughly. As a business owner, you may want to invest in more soap stations around your offices and signs to ask people to wash their hands more regularly.
Increase Work from Home Opportunities
You may want to avoid large meetings, especially where people have to travel far, while we wait out this Coronavirus threat. Increasing work from home opportunities is a good way to keep people on board with working, without having to come into the office. Increase your use of Skype, Google Drive and conference call software use so that you can efficiently manage everyday tasks at distance.
If Someone Does Have Coronavirus
The patient will need a blood test to confirm if they have this disease. From there, The NHS has planned:
- Five specialist hospitals that have treated existing UK patients
- 20+ regional infectious disease units on stand-by
- Isolation pods in case patients arrive with the virus
If someone at your place of work has a suspected case of coronavirus, it is wise to shut down your business temporarily and monitor any symptoms from home, while the results are confirmed.
Here at Hamilton Robertson, we are closely monitoring the Coronavirus situation and will update this blog if any major changes take place or if advice changes.