The Ominous Omicron And What The Employers Should Do
The Omicron was first discovered on November 24, 2021, and reported to the World Health Organization. The researchers labeled it “the Variant of Concern.” A week later, on December 1, 2021, health experts discovered the Omicron in the United States. A month later, it accounted for approximately 95% of the nation’s COVID-related cases. And when anything spreads this fast, facts get lost, and misconceptions abound.
There is a ‘disinformation’ among the masses that the Omicron is not as dangerous as the Delta-variant. However, many more people have been hospitalized over a shorter period, overwhelming the hospitals and healthcare practitioners. Some studies indeed point to a lower risk of hospitalization than Delta; nevertheless, more people are getting infected with the omicron virus, which results in more hospitalizations. One estimate says the COVID-Omicron variant is approximately 2.5 to 4 times more infectious than Delta. Many businesses have closed their doors as a precautionary measure to reduce the spread of the Omicron outbreak. It is not enough. Employers must act vigilantly in the fight against the Omicron. In addition to conventional preventative measures, there are four strategies that employers must adopt to cope with the Omicron.
Strategy 1: Don’t stop recruiting and retaining good employees
Hiring managers must maintain steps to sustain the workforce while preparing an intervention process to cope with the COVID-Omicron. There are rising staffing shortages and burnout among newly hired and seasoned professionals. It may be tempting to redirect your attention away from stabilizing your workforce and keeping as many personnel on board as possible. Reassuring workers that recruiting and retention initiatives are underway can assist in alleviating worries about increasing burnout due to personnel shortages.
See Also: Virtual Onboarding – Supporting New Hires
Strategy 2: Communicate contingency plans
Now that the COVID-Omicron pandemic is in complete swing, prepare for increased hospitalization and absences. As a result of this fluctuation, an employer’s capacity to accept more COVID-19 or any of its variants is impacted daily. Before experiencing another spike, leaders should validate their plans to fit extra demand into their present staffing realities before experiencing another spike and publicly convey these plans to the frontline. These preparations should be widely communicated.
Reducing employee stress may be accomplished by open communication about the organization’s plans to build capacity and staff in crucial areas. Coping with COVID requires vigilant leadership skills.
Strategy 3: Prioritize staff safety
Securing workers’ safety is non-negotiable. Most importantly, employers must safeguard workers from violence or other counterproductive employees, employees’ families, or other community members. Since the COVID or the Omicron epidemic began, the infected employees have reported increased bullying, not to mention social isolation. Consumers may continue to harass workers verbally and physically when the next model is unveiled amid increasing political turmoil. If neglected, frontline employees’ aggression and harassment may increase shortages and burnout. Therefore, the employer must invest in the employees’ emotional well-being as a strategy to cope with the Omicron.
Strategy 4: Unconditional support
Additionally, each COVID-19 increase causes extra pressure outside of the workplace. Leaders must prioritize initiatives to alleviate stress outside of the workplace, in addition to active attempts to hardwire resilience support for personnel in the workplace:
– Supplying a second source of child support.
– Allowing workers to get food coupons or other help for their non-work-related obligations.
– Making work schedules more flexible for people who can’t keep up with their present ones.
Besides the above-mentioned strategies to cope with the Omicron virus, conventional tactics can also achieve the desired results.
Vaccination is the best coping mechanism against serious illness, hospitalization, or death from COVID-19 and the Omicron. According to the CDC, the current vaccinations remain effective in decreasing the likelihood of COVID-19 hospitalization and severe conditions. According to the CDC, vaccination is the greatest public health approach to protect individuals against COVID-19 and limit the chance of additional variations arising.
Individuals who have been vaccinated are six times less likely to get disease-ridden, 12 times less likely to be admitted to the hospital, and 14 times less likely to die from COVID-19.
Protection of assets
Employee safety has long been a top consideration for businesses. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic and new variations on the rise, many companies wonder how they can safeguard their assets and, most importantly, their staff. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to cope with the Omicron, businesses may implement various viral mitigation policies and procedures.
Improved cleaning and sanitization protocols
Historically, rigorous cleaning and disinfection procedures have been the go-to method as a coping strategy against illness. When employees are worried about an outbreak, employers may give reassurance by showing their visible efforts to ensure their safety. According to the CDC’s advice, making sure the cleaning workers sanitize the facilities—reception desk, lobbies, break room, toilets, and high-density workstations—should be given priority.
Consider using UV-C sanitization in addition to your standard disinfection procedures. It is a tried-and-true disinfection technology available in standalone lights, drop ceiling systems, and autonomous robots—a completely autonomous UV-C robot for commercial, educational, and medical establishments. With a single charge, this unit can disinfect 150,000 square feet.
Improved air ventilation and indoor air quality
Ventilation in a building affects how quickly things spread, and increasing the amount of air that moves inside reduces the risk of getting sick at work. In closed spaces, a pandemic would spread fast. In open spaces, on the other hand, the pandemic can still spread but slowly. To cope with the Omicron, ventilation would play an important role. Ventilation does not have to be expensive. Just add more air exchanges, open windows, and re-new the filtration system. It’s also possible for employers not to use UV lamps because there isn’t enough evidence that ultraviolet air treatment stops the spread of COVID-19.
Masks protect against both infection and transmission of COVID-19; it is one of the best coping strategy against the COVID-19 and the Omicron. One study revealed that 90% of companies required employees to wear masks inside, 58% required masks to be worn regardless of an individual’s vaccination status, and 70% required masks to be worn at every site. The CDC recommends wearing facial masks when indoors with individuals.
Encouraged to be tested
COVID-19 surveillance testing is the most popular method for COVID-19 surveillance testing. Antigen tests are the most popular method for COVID-19 and the Omicron pandemic surveillance testing because they are inexpensive and provide real-time results. However, procuring a sufficient supply remains a problem in many nations’ regions. If employers want to comply with OSHA’s requirements, they may have their workers take the test while being observed, and they can also set up follow-up testing for individuals who test positive but have no symptoms. Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-Omicron virus or any variant should be allowed to work remotely or from home as the employer sees fit.
The specter of Omicron presents a unique leadership issue in terms of staffing constraints. We must take a step back and think about how we can use the lessons we’ve learned in the last two years to help us deal with this new omicron variation. To name just a few: Having open and honest discussions with workers, figuring out why people leave, why they want to re-join after leaving, putting in place measures to keep employees happy, and so on.
Regardless of the pandemic’s uncertainty, we encourage you to contact us directly as you examine solutions for workforce stability. Please send any requests for help directly to our professionals. We can make progress if we work together and do all we can to be prepared, safe, and proactive.