At the time of writing, the total confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus were 60.349. The virus has spread to 27 countries and so far, caused 1370 deaths. Among the infected are not only members of the public, but also healthcare workers. The virus originated in China, at a time of year when many people travel to and from China to celebrate the Chinese New Year (with relatives). This has put employers in a state of alert. The spread of the virus has employers seeking measures to protect their employees and organizations. Good internal (compliance) communication can be one of these measures for your organization. Good internal communication can even help stop a virus from spreading. Sound strange? Let us explain why.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued interim guidance based on what is currently known about the 2019 coronavirus. The interim guidance has been issued to help prevent workplace exposure to acute respiratory illnesses including the novel coronavirus and, as a result, help prevent contagion both in healthcare and non-healthcare settings. The interim guidance includes several recommended strategies for employers to use now:
Actively encourage sick employees to stay home
One of the strategies CDC recommends is ensuring that sick employees are actively encouraged to stay home, sick leave policies are flexible, and employees are aware of these policies. However, employees may not be aware of sick leave policies as they’ve never had to go through them. Clearly communicating these policies to your employees can be difficult; they may not know where to find them. In a time where employees’ awareness of organizations’ policies is even recommended as a strategy to prevent contagion, it’s important employees know what to do if they’re feeling ill. Directing your employees to this important information instead of having them search for it, is easier than you might think. You can display short messages about your sick leave policies directly on their PCs by publishing them through their Corporate Lock Screen or Wallpaper. You could also include a link that will guide your employees to your complete sick leave policies. This way, everyone’s informed of important sick leave policies. Thus, making it easier for them to follow recommendations on staying home when ill and stop (respiratory) illnesses from spreading.
Emphasize respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees
A second CDC recommendation is emphasizing respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees. CDC recommends placing posters at the entrance to workplaces and in other workplace areas where employees are likely to see them. The posters can encourage staying at home when sick, and emphasize coughing and sneezing etiquettes and hand hygiene. However, this method may be time-consuming as these posters have to be designed, printed and distributed, maybe even across multiple offices. We recommend you publish these messages on digital signage screens instead. With digital signage, you can design and publish messages within seconds, immediately informing your staff on these important etiquettes. On top of that, they’re repeatedly shown to your employees, ensuring your employees will remember the information. This way, they can actually apply these important etiquettes on a daily basis.
Compliance communication is of the utmost importance, especially in healthcare facilities. The most common problems with preventing or stopping the spread of infection are due to an error in compliance, when employees don’t follow procedures by the book. Compliance communication is about communicating the rules and regulations that apply to an employee’s industry or role. In the case of healthcare workers, it is essential for them to view these rules on a regular basis, as there are many reasons why an error in compliance may occur. With the use of digital signage screens, corporate lock screens and wallpapers, screensavers or a news and safety app, the rules can be repeatedly shown via multiple devices. This way, they’re accessible at all times, and room for error will decrease as employees always know what important policies and regulations are. They’ll know exactly how to follow these regulations when they need to.
Communicating with employees at home
Employees working for your organization might be feeling well themselves, but could have a sick family member at home. Some employees may stay at home out of precaution. They might still be able to work, but CDC nevertheless recommends encouraging them to stay at home. As a solution, your organization could stimulate them to telework or work from home. This way, employees that stay at home, can still get their work done. However, keeping them updated on important office news can be difficult when they don’t actually come into the office. A corporate app or wallpaper could make this easier: the latest updates on all sorts of things can be communicated to your employees directly via their smartphone or PC’s wallpaper – from regular office news to additional measures in response to respiratory illnesses. To stay in the know on all important work-related news, all they have to do is check their smartphone or wallpaper.
Show your employees you care about their health and wellbeing by making important news, policies, and regulations easily accessible. Looking for more ideas on how to do this? Download our free infographic ‘7 tips to create an effective emergency communication plan’.