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  • Writer's pictureMaya

Maintaining a Healthy Staff

Now more than ever, owners of essential businesses worry about the health and safety of their employees. Many seek proper measures that ensure sick workers stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases.

Your business can’t run well without staff. Staff can’t work their best if they’re sick. To ensure a safe and healthy work environment for you, your employees, and all the customers who use your essential services, protect your staff through this pandemic and beyond.

provide paid sick and family leave

The majority of employees who come to work sick simply have no other option. Foodservice industry workers already contend with some of the lowest wages and poorest working conditions; they can’t afford to take a day off if they worry about making rent even on a good month. Giving them a secure safety net lets them isolate themselves when they’re sick without the fear of losing their job, income, and housing. Workers don’t want to spread the disease to others; mostly, they just don’t have any other choice.

Similarly, ease some other restrictions around staying homesick. Some employees need a doctor’s note to get time off. However, many low-wage workers can’t afford a doctor’s visit; price aside, going for a check-up means taking time off work which again, many people can’t afford. This struggle only intensifies for workplaces that don’t offer any health benefits. The doctor’s office is costly, and without insurance, many workers can’t afford to go even if they had the time. If you’re not prepared to offer them benefits, at least remove the obstacles around staying home and getting rest and care.

Also, consider offering paid family leave. With many diseases, but COVID-19 especially, older generations and immunocompromised people are the most at-risk. Children, the elderly, and people who have other health concerns on top of their illness might need someone to help look after them. Giving your employees paid time off to take care of family will help protect those most vulnerable in our society.

If an employee doesn’t qualify for paid time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) then you can work something out with them so they can still care for themselves and their family without risking unemployment, for example, a more flexible schedule or reduced hours. Check here to view FMLA requirements.

Maintaining a Healthy Staff

support mental health

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Everyone understandably feels a tremendous amount of fear, concern, and confusion during this time; helping your staff grow more comfortable and at ease will foster a happier, healthier working environment.

Promote de-stressing techniques to alleviate anxieties. This can involve meditation and mindfulness apps, reminding staff that there’s no shame in therapy and certified coaches, and providing other digital resources that they can access over the phone, online, or via video call. Considering your staff’s mental health lets them know that you care about them and want to support them through this.

Happy businesswoman sitting at the table and talking on the phone in cafe. Looking away

policy of honesty

New guidelines, restrictions, and regulations about this pandemic come out weekly; the predictions of when this will be over changes just as often. Instead of sugarcoating the situation, which your employees will see through, establish a policy of openness and honesty with them especially regarding the procedures you set in place to defend against this virus. Not only will this cultivate trust and ease some of their concerns about what will happen to the business, but it indicates that you’ll take the necessary steps to keep everyone safe.

Let your employees know what you’re doing to follow the guidelines set by the CDC and state health organizations, why you’re setting certain rules in place, and what you’re doing to promote general health and wellbeing in the community. Even if you only delegate a couple of minutes in a team meeting to do so/, transparency will go a long way into helping your employees comply with legal regulations and encouraging mental and physical health.

Successful business presentation of a man at the office

prioritize cleanliness

Of course, keeping a clean restaurant should always be a top priority. Complying with federal health regulations ensures you can stay open. However as we strive to contain the spread of COVID-19, everyone needs to work harder than usual to prevent the spread of germs in your workplace. Use these basic hygiene tips through COVID-19 and beyond:

  1. Use proper handwashing techniques. Everyone needs to wash after they use the bathroom when they begin preparing new food and after touching communal surfaces. Remember to spend twenty seconds washing with soap under hot water.

  2. Cover sneezes and coughs. Even if you’re not sick, always cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow, never into your hand.

  3. Use hand sanitizer. You can put out containers for the front and back of the house so that it’s accessible to your staff as well as any delivery drivers or customers who come in to pick up an order.

  4. Clean more often than usual. Though you likely have cleanup procedures in place already, you should increase how often you clean during the day. Sanitize equipment and surfaces regularly throughout the day to prevent germs from spreading between kitchen staff, delivery workers, and customers. Especially make sure to frequently sanitize communal objects that get touched by a lot of people, such as door handles, pots and pans, and other equipment.

  5. Ensure everyone follows the six-foot rule. If possible, reduce the number of staff on shift to only those you need to successfully operate. If you aren’t busy, send some workers home so the necessary staff can more easily avoid getting too close to one another.

While health and cleanliness always matter, maintaining a sanitized work environment is especially important during a crisis like this one. Taking these easy steps helps you, your workers, and all of your customers avoid infection.

Woman cleaning the counter in the kitchen

let technology fill in the gaps

While you contend with a smaller staff, slower shifts, and a brand new focus on delivery-only service, let technology smooth the way into this new normal. Most if not all restaurants have implemented measures like online ordering and contactless delivery to prevent too much face-to-face contact, which would violate the six-foot guideline for social distancing.

However, even after the imminent threat of COVID-19 fades, our collective fear of spreading disease and getting too close will likely remain in the public consciousness for a long time. Many POS vendors offer services that cut down on face-to-face time between workers and customers, and make self-service and contactless service easier. Self-service kiosks, contactless payment methods, handheld POS devices and other high technology are all becoming more popular as restaurants strive for ease, innovation, and now toward better health as well. As we move into a post-COVID-19 world, we can expect a certain amount of social distancing to remain the norm.

Contact eatOS today to learn about how which products can help you promote quick, quality service—from an appropriately safe distance. Click here for how to do it.

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