Coronavirus - Are your employees worried?

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Health Assured team

19 February 2020

At the time of writing, the latest figures report that over 119,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed, resulting in over 4,000 deaths worldwide.

 

What is Coronavirus?

Novel coronavirus—now officially known as Covid-19—is a new respiratory illness not previously seen in humans, which has recently been declared as global public health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO).

 

The virus was first identified in January 2020, in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province in China, after over 40 residents presented signs of pneumonia with no clear cause.

 

Since the outbreak, there has been a growing concern across the globe regarding the virus and its effects on the population. This sense of concern will probably be present in your workplace, even if your employees don’t show any signs of distress.

 

As employers, it’s your responsibility to ensure you not only take practical steps to ensure health and safety, but also the wellbeing of your people.

 

In this guidance, we will offer several top tips on how to support your people though this global public health emergency.

 

Signs & symptoms of coronavirus

In order to educate your people on the health risks of coronavirus, you need to be aware of the early signs and symptoms of the illness.

 

According to WHO, common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. These symptoms can take between 2 - 14 days to show.

 

In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

 

Coronavirus prevention

As Coronavirus cases begin to grow in the UK and Ireland, it's important to promote effective prevention methods in the workplace. These include; covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, throw away used tissues in a bin immediately, wash your hands with soap and water often and avoid contact with people who are unwell.

 

Tips for the workplace

Don’t cause panic: This the first and most important step in supporting your team’s wellbeing is to not cause panic when addressing the issue at work. Any communications sent internally should be measured and proportionate to the most recent update.

Education materials: Promote hygiene best practise across the workplace by displaying educational posters. Think about the locations where they will be most effective e.g. bathrooms, kitchens, noticeboards etc.

Training: Consider providing additional training opportunities for team members in key areas. This will give you more flexibility and allow your employees to fill in for absent colleagues if needed.

 

Keep up to date

To help protect your people from the health risks of coronavirus, you need to be aware of the latest information regarding the outbreak. Following the NHS, WHO, UK and ROI Government websites will help you keep an eye on any new developments and advice on efficient ways to contain the virus.

 

Due to the nature and the media attention of the outbreak of coronavirus, it’s likely that the news of the illness will affect the mental health of your workforce.

 

To stop this from causing further damage to your people’s wellbeing, it’s vital that you keep up to date with the latest government advice and changes, and adapt your organisation’s wellbeing plans to reflect these changes.

 

 

If you would like to find out more information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please contact Health Assured on:

UK: 0844 892 2493

ROI: 01 886 0324

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