As COVID-19 pandemic spreads around the world, thousands of new cases are being diagnosed every day. As of March 21, the World Health Organization reported 234 073 confirmed cases globally with 6 new affected areas, including Africa, the Western Pacific Region, and Latin America. Every time we switch on the TV to listen to the latest news or scroll our feed, we see that more and more public figures reveal their positive status to society. After Justin Trudeau’s wife was tested positive for coronavirus, the prime minister of Canada had to work in isolation, combining his house duties with the work of running a G7 country. Prince Albert of Monaco demonstrated the highest degree of transparency when he publicly revealed his diagnosis. Earlier on, a renowned Hollywood actor Tom Hanks and his wife told they were positively tested for coronavirus and decided to self-isolate in their house in Australia. Following the example of celebrities and politicians, it is the duty of the company and each of us to inform society and the government about new COVID-19 cases.
On March 22, LITSLINK's employee received official confirmation from the Ministry of Health of Ukraine that she has been tested positively for the novel coronavirus. Shortly before, the employee arrived from the region with an ongoing community spread of the disease. When she felt the first flu-like symptoms, she addressed the local laboratory to test her for COVID-19. Even though she was not sure about the diagnosis, the employee decided to self-isolate and wait for the test results. Furthermore, she immediately informed top management about her health condition.
The following set of steps were undertaken to protect the staff and prevent further spread of COVID-19:
- The company immediately notified the entire team (200+ employees) of the situation and provided clear instructions on how to act further;
- Since the very beginning of the quarantine, the company provided remote work opportunities to all employees and encouraged them to stay home. When top management received the information about the possible COVID-19 case in the company, the staff was advised to practice social distancing for 14 days and monitor their health for symptoms of COVID-19;
- The employee received all the necessary support from the company, including a paid sick leave, assistance with testing, etc.
- The company’s authorities reminded employees about the importance of personal hygiene and a healthy lifestyle in prevention of the coronavirus disease.
Given the different degrees of preparedness among tech companies and further potential for the spread of disease, it is worth staying informed and learning from the lessons we have so far. When one of your employees is positively tested, the worst decision is to stay aside and observe. Instead, you should get prepared to face this challenge with a cool head. We recommend paying attention to the following points while developing your corporate policy or contingency plan:
1. Transparency. Many public figures, including politicians and renowned actors, have been tested positively for the novel coronavirus. Some of them publicly revealed their status to provide others with an example to follow. By being transparent, you demonstrate your social responsibility and contribute to the fight against this dangerous illness.
2. Informedness. In the age of information overload, there are so many sources that bombard you with news that it frequently seems to companies that they shouldn’t put much effort in keeping their teams informed. By providing relevant and credible data on the facts about COVID-19 and the main precautionary measures, you prevent speculations on the topic.
3. Communication. In the time of coronavirus pandemic, it is vital to monitor your health and spot the first symptoms of disease timely to prevent further disruption. In case some of your teammates feel under the weather, you should take shared responsibility to investigate whether it is COVID-19 and make sure these employees won’t spread the disease among their colleagues, friends or relatives.
When you have only 10 members in a team, it is quite easy to keep in touch with all of them. However, with 200-400 employees in the company, you might miss vital updates. Build communication channels in advance to be in the loop.
4.Self-isolation. Even if you and your team feel ok, but you have visited any regions with ongoing spread of coronavirus, WHO advises practicing social distancing for 14 days and monitor your health for the symptoms of COVID-19.
5.Testing. Right after you get information about the case, check this person’s network, and create the list of his/her contacts. These people should be offered to test for COVID-19 and self-isolate for the incubation period. To prevent further spread of the disease, it is highly important to reveal new cases timely, provide professional medical help to people with COVID-19, and isolate them for the period recommended by WHO.
6. Support. Make sure your employees have all the necessary resources for convenient self-isolation. Think of how they will work, shop or get medication if they need it. If you can help them with supply or connect to any social organizations, consider doing it.
In such a challenging time for the world, timely response to COVID-19 cases might save lives and maintain a healthy atmosphere in your team. Stay alert, build reliable communication channels, and follow WHO recommendations to take control of the situation. LITSLINK encourages its partners, clients, and all parties involved to undertake precautionary measures to combat the pandemic.