COVID-19 caused many families to lay off some of their most valuable household employees, and now as government restrictions are changing, many of those families are navigating how to manage the return to work for their employees.
We want to offer some considerations that will make the transition easier for families and for their valued employees as they return to work.
There is so much still unknown about how and when people can resume working, making it even more imperative that hiring families offer clear communication to their employees regarding when and how they can return to work in the home. Consider that regulations may continue to change, so maintain a flexible, open approach when addressing the actual return-to-work date. Here’s what you should keep in mind as you prepare to welcome your employees back to work:
Cleaning And Disinfecting
At this point in time, we know that COVID-19 can exist on surfaces for a long period of time, so it’s vital that your home is frequently cleaned and disinfected. Some best practices include:
- Providing clear areas for hand washing, and lots of hand sanitizer.
- Cleaning and disinfecting all frequently touched surfaces in the home, such as toys, remote controls, kitchen counters, bathrooms, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs
- Discouraging your employees from using outside toys or equipment unless they can be cleaned and disinfected before and after use
- Providing disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down by your employee before each use.
Social distancing includes staying 6 feet apart from those outside your home, and several other specific expectations that reduce the spread of COVID-19. Here are some best practices to share with your household employees::
- Avoiding gatherings of 10 or more people
- Instructing your employee to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other people
- Limiting the number of people in your home
- Discouraging your employee from shaking hands
Screening Prospective And Current Employees
When hiring new employees during this time, remote interviewing is best, and we’ve got some tips to make that process simple. To keep current employees safe, you may want to consider keeping a log of daily temp checks for each person working in your home. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission allows employers to measure a worker’s body temperatures before allowing them to enter a worksite. All screening from interviewing to daily temp checks must be conducted in a nondiscriminatory manner, and all information obtained regarding individual temperatures must be treated as confidential medical information. As with any new expectation or procedure, be open and direct with your employees about how and why you intend to move forward, making sure that everyone is looped in and comfortable with the new procedures.
Safety Training For Your Employees
As your valued employees return to work, you need to provide them with a clear and accessible guide for maintaining safe practices within the home. Your plan should discuss the following safety training topics:
Encourage good hygiene to prevent the spread of COVD-19. According to the CDC, this should include:
- Utilizing tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles
- Frequent use of soap and water to wash hands for 20 seconds
- Put hand sanitizer throughout the home for easy access
- Gently reminding your staff members to not touch their face
Encourage your staff members to be aware of the typical symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath), and to be forthright about their personal health as it pertains to these specific symptoms. Having a member of your household employee team call in sick is never ideal, but especially during this pandemic, playing it safe is definitely the best practice. Communicate the plan for calling in sick, and what that will look like. Many hiring families are offering extended sick days to encourage their employees to feel comfortable taking time off when they need it, and staying away from the home whenever exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19.
Consider Mental Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unparalleled levels of stress and anxiety for so many, and monitoring the mental health of yourself and those working in your home is important. The Red Cross is currently offering a free course on managing the psychological drain of COVID-19, and you may want to encourage your employees to sign up for the online training.
As with any new and difficult situation facing your family, COVID-19 has caused each of us to reassess our status quo and look at how we need to change our behavior to adjust to this pandemic. The most important thing to consider as you work through the process of having your household employees return to work is clear, open, direct communication. There’s already so much about COVID-19 that is unknown, but your home is the official workplace for your employees, and in your home, you can establish new best practices, new expectations, and you can make this information easily accessible for your beloved staff members to support them as they work hard to support you and your family.
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