The Indian Government has classified districts across the nation into red, orange and green zones based on the number of positive cases of COVID-19. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India (GoI) shared few guidelines related to workplaces and establishments to be followed during the lockdown period. However, it seems that the organizations may need to follow these guidelines even after the lockdown has been lifted to ensure safety and security.
It goes without saying that the biggest challenge for a business will be restarting their operations post lockdown. With constraints on travel and attendance of employees, rejoining will be a herculean task. So to help you out get an idea on how to go about this, here’s a sample list of do’s and don’ts that an organization can follow to possibly avoid a second wave of an infection*.
Approve Work From Home (WFH) Option For:
– Employees residing in the containment zone (just to be more cautious to contain the spread of the infection)
– People who provide care for elderly people (those above 65 years of age or those bedridden).
– People above 65 years of age and those with comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, respiratory disease or cancer.
– Pregnant women and parents of children below 5 years of age
Ask The Employee To Take A Day Off/ Stay At Home If:
– He/she has any flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, cold, sore throat, or breathing difficulty.
– He/she has come in close contact with a person tested positive for coronavirus.
At the Entry Point, Organizations Can
– Set up a protocol for screening of their employees
– Make a provision for thermal scanning (via the use of infra-red thermometers) of all the employees
– Ensure hand wash/sanitizer preferably with touchfree mechanism to be made available for every person entering the office.
– Also include maintaining a daily update call of COVID status in their standard operating procedure (SOP).
– Keep a track of visitors along with a look for symptoms for security reasons
– In case of couriers/letters/files that come from outside, make sure they are received at the entry gate only and by a single person only after using proper precautionary measures (like washing hands or using a hand sanitizer before and after handling packages)
– Avoid guests/visitors at the office as a precautionary measure and if can’t then make sure proper screening at the entry gate is done before sending them to the office.
At Exit Point, Organizations Can
– Ensure hand wash/sanitizer preferably with touchfree mechanism to be made available for every person.
– Make sure all the company vehicles are sanitized regularly and drivers should be tested before they resume their daily pick up services.
– Company buses can operate with upto 50% seating capacity in order to abide by the social distancing guidelines.
– In case of carpooling and use of cabs for short distance travel, make sure there are no more than 3 people and 2 people (driver +employee) respectively in the car.
– If an employee comes by a bike to the office, make sure he doesn’t have a pillion rider. No #sharingiscaring in this case.
At the Workplace, Organizations Can
– Stock adequate amounts of facecovers and make it available for the employees (if needed).
– Make sure sufficient quantities of hand wash and sanitizer are available.
– Must Ensure all the employees follow social distancing guidelines as recommended by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
– May keep hand wash/sanitizer preferably with touchfree mechanism to be made available for every person in the common premises such as canteen/mess/meeting rooms/washroom, etc.
– In case of shift jobs, make sure adequate gap between shifts is maintained to ensure social distancing
– Create rooster for lunch breaks of the staff to avoid gathering of large crowd in the canteen/mess during lunch hours
– Restrict sitting of employees in groups in canteens/ meeting rooms and make sure sufficient gap between two employees is followed when more than 2 people are involved.
– Should make sure communication is done via emails and limit (if possible avoid) exchange of files and letters in the offices.
– Must ensure proper sanitising of workplaces, toilets, surfaces, etc. every day, as per the protocol released by the Government of India.
– If possible, opt for touchless taps and soap dispensers to ensure that people do not touch these objects often and the risk of transmission gets minimized.
– When coughing or sneezing, employees as well as officials should use a handkerchief or a disposable tissue paper. In case of unavailability of both, cough/sneeze into your elbows.
– Make a well-articulated SOP for cleaning and disinfection with specification about when, how and what surfaces have to be cleaned and what disinfectant has to be used.
– Ask their employees to download the Arogya Setu App as it helps you to know the COVID status in and around your area.
– Say no to large physical meetings as it can increase the risk of spreading the infection (if a person suffers from one)
– Should identify and create a list of hospitals/clinics in the nearby area which are authorized to test/treat COVID patients.
– Should take up virtual sessions on how to maintain proper hygiene, tips to prevent coronavirus and regular updates about the COVID status to make them be aware and not panic.
– If possible, plan rotational shifts for the employees to ensure no single employee stays in the office for a longer period.
– Instil the habit of handwashing in every employee as a way of life rather than a chore to be ticked off their list.
– Once the lockdown is lifted, make sure not everyone turns out to the office on the first day or at the same time. Create roosters to plan their timings, especially if you are a large organization.
– Make sure that less than 50% of the workplace is occupied or not more than 33% of the employees are present in the office to avoid overcrowding.
– It would be wise if you can identify and plan a detailed schedule on which employees need to come to the office. Others can work from home.
– Employees working as security guards, receptionists/cafeteria staff, etc can be asked to come in rotational shifts and ensure proper gap between shifts.
– Irrespective of the size of the company, every company should do the testing of their employee and make sure a doctor/paramedic staff is available 24X7 at the office to be on a safer side.
If you stay in Mumbai, Delhi/NCR, Agra, Bangalore, Pune, Lucknow, Chennai, Meerut, Allahabad, Kanpur or Ahmedabad, then you can book the COVID-19 lab test online on our site. Book your slot now for home collection of your sample!
*Disclaimer: This information is for informational purposes only and must not be considered as a substitute to any of the Government of India’s Guidelines on COVID-19 around similar and/or dissimilar context(s).
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
1. Press Release. Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs. Twitter. https://twitter.com/PIBHomeAffairs/status/1256227362338942984/photo/1
2. Press Release. Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs. Twitter. https://twitter.com/PIBHomeAffairs/status/1256215709908074503/photo/1
3. Press Release. Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs. Twitter. https://twitter.com/PIBHomeAffairs/status/1256215258659803137/photo/1
4. National Directives for COVID-19 management. http://220.127.116.11/WriteReadData/userfiles/15.04.2020%20Revised%20Consolidated%20Guidelines.pdf