Updated: Coronavirus update

Written by
Tom Truslow

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Latest Updates (as of March 24, 2020):

Effective noon on March 24, 2020, all “non-essential” businesses in Massachusetts must physically close. Residents are urged to stay at home during this period, which will expire on April 7, 2020.

  • The list of “essential” businesses can be found here.

Insource is helping clients by holding a series of webinars around working from home (remote working) and using Google Classroom for e-learning. Learn more on our blog.

For the latest guidance, visit CDC’s Coronavirus Information Page.

Our Original Blog (posted March 13, 2020)

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has begun to make its way around the world. While we have no way of knowing how widespread the disease will potentially become, it is important to make sure everyone is aware of precautionary measures that can help isolate and stop the spread of the disease. 

Precautionary measures to stop the spread of COVID-19: 

  • If an employee has a fever (100.4 degrees or more) or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (i.e. cough, or shortness of breath), they should not report to the workplace. This will help protect co-workers. 
  • If those employees can work, they should work from home until they are asymptomatic. (i.e. showing no fever or respiratory symptoms without symptom-altering medications, for 24 hours.) 
  • If an employee is at the workplace and they show signs of a fever or acute respiratory illness, ask them to leave the office immediately and work from home. 
  • Employees should be instructed that if they believe they may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 they should self-quarantine for at least fourteen (14) days.  During that time, they should work from home if possible. 
  • If an employee has any family members living with them who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, they must self-quarantine for at least fourteen (14) days and work from home. 
  • Employees should be aware of any relatives or friends that have recently returned from travelling overseas. If those relatives have come into contact with anyone that shows signs of being infected, the employee must self-quarantine for at least fourteen (14) days and work from home. 

If you think your organization has been exposed to COVID-19: 

  • Take the time to make sure employees have the necessary tools to work from home if asked to. This includes having access to laptops and any necessary materials they need to work from home.   
  • Snacks in the office that are communal, such as snacks that are shared, or require reaching into bags or bowls below the dispensers, should be removed. Only single serving, individually wrapped snacks should be available in the workplace. 
  • Avoid having outside/unregulated people coming into the workplace. Have virtual meetings and interviews (i.e. via video chat) whenever possible. This not only mitigates the risk of the disease coming into the workplace but could also help an applicant by reducing the stress of having to visit an unknown workplace for an interview. 
  • Consider a sick time “amnesty” for anyone that misses work due to the virus or self-quarantine. 
  • Suggest employees drive to work so they avoid using public transportation.  
  • Do not use handshakes as a form of greeting. 
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer as often as possible, and avoid touching your face. 

If you have any travel plans please check the CDC’s Travelers’ Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each destination. 

All communications with employees should be calm and reassuring. Employees want to know that these issues have been considered and the organization has a plan. Also, managers must maintain an open dialogue with their teams. All employees should feel comfortable expressing any issues or concerns. 

Although a widespread quarantine is not expected, it is important to be prepared.  If this public health situation gets to the point where you can no longer safely ask people to report to work in person, or if this becomes an order from State and/or Federal Government, please be prepared to have employees work from home. 

For questions about the COVID-19 virus please refer to the CDC’s Coronavirus Information Page. 

If you have any questions about dealing with COVID-19 in the workplace, email us at insource@insourceservices.com or call us on (781) 235-1490.