As is true over the past months, there’s a lot of uncertainty around COVID-19 these days. But if one thing remains unchanged, it's that making employees feel safe and productive in the workplace is vital for company stability.
Office managers need to have an effective screening process in place for each employee entering an office building. That way, if one employee shows a symptom of COVID, you can send them back home before even having risked spreading anything to other employees.
Thankfully, implementing a health screening for your office doesn't have to be a complicated process. With careful planning and the right tools, you can set up a screening protocol in no time.
In this blog post, we’ll discover what health screenings typically consist of, the benefits that come with it for your office, and how your company can get started.
What is an employee health screening?
Employee health screening consists of performing various checks and tests to make sure each employee on your staff is healthy enough to enter your workplace. It’s key to protecting everyone’s safety (including visitors) and limiting the transmission of illnesses in the office.
In the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies should include a screening as part of their employee wellness program if they haven’t done so already.
With regular checkpoints screenings, you can create an office that’s not only COVID-friendly but also helps employees psychologically safe so they can do their best work.
Different types of health screening measures
Daily health screening measures in the office can take different forms. We’ve included some of the most popular screening measures you can put in place to protect employees.
Note: There is no one-size-fits-all health screening. Company size, location, employee comfort levels, workplace strategy, facility restrictions and more can dictate what type of screening makes the most sense for an individual office. Consider each of the following typical methods, but not necessarily requirements for your organization.
1. Temperature screening checks at the office door
One of the most common COVID-19 symptoms that people experience is a fever or chills. It’s important to be able to identify right away if one of your employees shows any of these symptoms.
Applying temperature checks in front of your building helps spot quickly employees who show a possible symptom of COVID-19 or other diseases. It measures the skin temperature of each person that enters your building within a distance of two feet.
2. Health checkpoints
A little technology goes a long way when limiting the spread of diseases in the office. Workplace software tools have adapted their offerings to help keep the office safe during COVID-19. The best tools incorporate a health checkpoint into the normal workflows employees already do before coming into the office — like booking a desk.
For example, with Robin, workplace admins can send out a quick survey of questions and collect information from employees to determine if they’ve been in contact with someone or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 before they come into the office.
Health checkpoint is part of the Robin Return collection of tools
3. Hand sanitizer and cleaning stations
Cleaning your hands routine can make a big difference to limit the spread of diseases.
According to CDC recommended guidelines, washing your hands regularly and cleaning office equipment are very effective at slowing the spread of most pathogens.
Part of your health screening protocol could be to make employees wash their hands before they walk in. It's as simple as including a hand sanitizer at the front door people can use before stepping in.
Consider creating handwashing guidelines as well for when employees use different equipment throughout the office like door handles, printers, or coffee machines.
Benefits of health screening
As the old saying goes: “health is wealth”.
By keeping your employees healthy, they'll be able do their jobs more effectively.
Here are some of the main benefits that come with putting in place an employee health screening protocol in the office:
Minimize the spread of COVID-19 (and other illnesses)
Everyone has to do their part when it comes to limiting the spread of COVID-19, and offices are no exception.
As the pandemic seems to be far from over, creating a socially-distanced workplace is vital for the time being. You don’t want your office to become a cluster and end up with everyone on your team getting sick.
An employee screening protocol helps identify COVID-19 symptoms before they spread throughout the whole office. You’ll have control over the virus and avoid any potential outbreaks.
Save yourself valuable time and minimize risks
Aside from identifying signs of illness quickly, a health screening protocol saves alleviates stress for office admins and employees alike without taking up much time at all.
It's much better to get out ahead and mitigate risks instead of having to go into crisis mode should someone who's sick come into the office. The time and effort needed to contact trace, communicate internally, and deep clean the entire office is far greater than completing a quick check-in before come into the office.
Show employees that you care
Employees must know that their company wants the best for them. It improves the employee experience and makes it more likely they’ll stick around at your company.
Keep in mind that many employees are still nervous to return to the office. According to a report by Forrester, over 41% of employees are anxious about coming back to work.
Looking out for your employees’ health is proof of your commitment and concern for their well being. By taking the effort to create a safe environment, you’ll reassure them and gain their trust.
Reduce office presenteeism and turnover
Presenteeism is when employees feel pressure to show up to the office no matter what, regardless if they’re sick or aren’t feeling well.
The pandemic gives a reason for employees to stay at home if they have symptoms. With a health screening procedure, employees won’t feel guilty over not showing up to the office.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Let’s say that an employee fills in one of your health questionnaires and mention that they experienced a sudden loss of taste a couple of days prior.
In this case, they should stay at home and come back after a week. They can work remotely during this time and communicate with teammates virtually.
Improve mental health for employees
The pandemic is a stressful experience for everyone, especially since experts still don’t know when it will end.
Stress can hurt your company’s performance. If employees come back to your office stressed about catching the virus, they won’t be able to focus on what matters the most: getting their work done well.
By protecting your employees with the screening measures, you’ll give them peace of mind. They’ll be able to come back to work and get things done without worrying too much.
Boost employee productivity
Lower stress and productivity go hand-in-hand. By optimizing the health of your employee and improving their mental health, your employees will be more driven to wake up in the morning and get to work.
Besides, if an employee is sick but decides to show up to the office anyway, they won’t be in their most productive state. It’s better if they stay home and take the time to rest.
How to implement an employee health screening protocol
Social distancing is here to stay, at least until a vaccine is widely available. If your office has yet to include a screening protocol, now’s the time to do it.
Here’s how you can implement health screening smoothly and get employees on board fast:
1. Communicate the importance of a health screening process to employees
As you put a health screening protocol in place, some employees may get thrown off by the new measures. Change on any scale can be a tough especially when an entire group of people are being asked to change a routine behavior.
The first step should be to organize a meeting with your team as part of your employee assistance program and explain why a screening process in the office is necessary.
It’s not just about protecting the company — it’s also to look at for them and protect their wellbeing. Employees must understand that it’s a win-win for everyone.
Make sure to adopt a positive vibe and a human approach. The worst thing you can do is to make employees feel anxious and stressed about the situation.
2. Get the proper equipment
Next, you’ll want to get the proper equipment so the transition to health screening goes smoothly.
For example, you might need to invest in touchless forehead thermometers if your company wants to make that part of your health screening requirements. It’s going to help identify potential COVID-19 symptoms (such as fever) before employees get the chance to move around the office.
You’ll also need technology for employees to submit their health questionnaire in a quick and easy way. Having your team manually fill in their forms is going to be unproductive and take much of your time.
With Robin’s Return software, you can automatically send employees a quick health screen to complete before entering the office. They can complete the form right off the Robin app as they get ready in the morning.
Don’t forget about cleaning supplies like hand sanitizers that employees can use to wash their hands at the front door. Also, think about including posters outside with all the screening guidelines outlined.
3. Create a health questionnaire
Employee self-assessment is vital to limiting the spread of diseases in the office. A simple way for employees to self-check is to get them to submit a health questionnaire.
The self administered questionnaire often ask employees if they’ve experienced any of these symptoms in the past 24 hours:
- Frequent coughing or dry cough
- Extreme tiredness
- Shortness of breath
- A fever of at least 100°
- Loss of smell
- Chest pain or pressure
We’ve found quick checkbox surveys work well for these types of questionnaires. It’s a simple way to keep track of their state of employee health and should take less than two minutes to complete.
It’s even more vital if they’ve recently traveled internationally. In some of these cases, they may have to quarantine themselves for 14 days before stepping into the office again.
4. Don’t forget to track everything
Lastly, if you have no way of keeping track of employee symptoms, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. For effective contact tracing, you’ll want to store records of all of this data, such as statements, questionnaires, and temperature checks in one place.
For example, if one of your employees catches COVID-19, you can let others that work in their space to stay home as well and get tested. It’s going to stop the disease from potentially spreading to other teammates.
You can try to do this manually with a spreadsheet, but having technology to track all of this data is going to be far more practical.
More resources and tools for workplace health and safety
If you want to learn more about how you can make your office more COVID-friendly, we got you covered. Here’s a list of resources to help you out as your office adapts to the new normal:
Introducing Robin Return, helping employees feel confident whenever they decide to head into the office
We know that many offices out there are scratching their heads as they try to practice social distancing and reassure employees.
It’s why we released our new Robin Return tool to help companies create a long-term strategy for keeping their employees safe. Some of its features include contact tracing, advanced workplace analytics, health checkpoints, and more.
In this blog post, we dive into how each feature turns your office into a better place, along with customer reviews.
As mentioned earlier, cleaning is an essential part of a health screening process. While offices before took it for granted, a cleaning strategy is now a staple of an effective COVID-19 protection plan.
In this blog post, you’ll get all of your answers about cleaning answered by Roman Peysakhovich, CEO and founder of Onedesk. You’ll gain insights on what to prioritize while cleaning your office, the difference between cleaning and sanitation, and more.
Protecting your employees safe goes beyond just temperature checks at the office door. You’ll also have to reorganize the set up of your office so that it limits occupancy in certain areas, reduces foot traffic, and helps employees book desks.
Creating a socially-distanced office environment for your employees means there needs to be new rules. You’ll need to find a balance between keeping everyone productive while making them feel safe at the same time.
This article goes deeper into each required guideline, so you make employees feel comfortable as they return.
Screening employees and visitors as part of your wellness program ensures your office stays safe the minute people step in.
You’ll be able to limit the spread of diseases such as COVID-19, which in return gives your employees peace of mind they need to do their jobs effectively.