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Creating a safe work place, proper guidelines; as employees start returning to work

The global COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted all sectors of the industry and healthcare is no exception to this. The adverse effects of this outbreak are alarming as it poses several serious challenges. Though governments worldwide are doing their best to safeguard the population, they require the tremendous support of private players like hospitals to cater to public health needs and reduce fatalities. Unfortunately, these players are facing dwindling financial abilities with declining profit margins and return on investments after this sudden epidemic.

The current crisis thus calls for retrospection of the marketing methods for hospitals to survive and retain the healthcare business. Healthcare units must also improvise employee retention plans to combat the staff shortage and attrition they are facing. The role of consultants in manpower assumes paramount significance here as they can play a vital role in selecting, recruiting, training and retaining talented people. Prominent healthcare consulting firms like Frontenders leave no stone unturned in this regard. They are equipped with skilled professionals and expertise to handle the prevailing challenges seamlessly.

Impacts of Covid in Healthcare

  • Huge economic losses due to lack of sufficient funds for implementing steps for infection control and prevention, creating the infrastructure for isolation and treatment and providing sufficient medical supplies and infrastructure to the workforce.
  • Lack of government subsidies to private players to compensate for business losses during the lockdown
  • Insufficient infrastructure and clinical resources to properly treat the infected patients particularly the symptomatic ones
  • Dearth of diagnostic facilities for testing non-symptomatic patients who need to undergo surgical procedures
  • Rising mental health issues and immense anxiety amongst staff due to corona attacks
  • Stalled medical tourism and elective procedures which has substantially decreased the revenue of the healthcare segment
  • Shortage of healthcare workers due to travel restrictions imposed in the lockdown, employees getting infected or quarantined and fear of the virus causing receding of frontline workers.

These aspects call for a complete revamping of the workflow mechanisms as economies and markets strive to limp back to normalcy in the days ahead.

Creating a safe workplace

Organizations need to create a safe working environment for all employees and stakeholders. Staffing agencies for healthcare can support this multifaceted task which involves maintaining the physical environment hygiene, deploying medical considerations for protecting the health, monitoring the emotional well-being of the employees and controlling stress.

  • Preparation of Physical Environment-Organizations should develop and promote a safe environment for the employees to maintain hygiene in the building and ensure safe distancing to prevent infection from spreading widely. That includes-
    • Assessing the surroundings to determine the contamination levels for carrying out cleaning, sanitization, disinfection and sterilization procedures and appropriate scheduling
    • Reducing the touch points by installing motion detectors using sensors for operating switches and other handheld gadgets to reduce physical contact
    • Taking adequate measures to ensure physical distancing by determining the available capacity for spacing, doing workstation repositioning and continuously monitoring the number of people in the workspace to ensure that maximum limits are not surpassed
    • Providing Personal Protective Equipment(PPE) to employees if necessary based on the risk of exposure to the coronavirus
    • Developing processes for handling and managing materials like sanitizers, disinfectants and cleaning liquids to avoid hazards
    • Establishing the right protocols and guidelines for proper disposal of face masks, gloves and other protective equipment
    • Deploying pre-check assessments and screening tests which the employees must undergo at the entrance before they enter the premises
    • Encouraging and facilitating the usage of individual transport for employees rather than public transport to decrease the probability of possible exposure to infection
    • Allocating and designating separate entrances and exit points for buildings and work stations wherever possible to avoid overcrowding of staff
    • Devising regulations to be followed for social distancing during emergencies and evacuation procedures
  • Medical Considerations – Effective Covid testing and screening of all employees, customers and visitors of the organization is crucial to prevent the disease spread. The steps to be followed are-
    • Establishing clear-cut communication to all on how and where the screening processes is conducted and what are the protocols to be followed if the person tested is symptomatic
    • Creating safety committees to develop and closely monitor the Covid guidelines and protocols
    • Developing a robust decontamination and sanitization process for handling confirmed cases
    • Supporting onsite staff with self-screening procedures and self-quarantine guidelines
    • Providing a roadmap with instructions and procedures in case employees happens to be in contact with infected persons
    • Maintaining thorough tracking and contact tracing
  • Support for Mental Well-being­-Covid poses an increased risk for employees facing mental illnesses due to its nature of extended social isolation. Proper support through leadership, mentoring, psychological counselling by professionals and online resources can remarkably help employees to reduce mental distress and undesirable fear.