In recent weeks, you will not have been able to watch the news or listen to the radio without hearing of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The disease, originating from China, has now spread to every part of the UK, and the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate.
This can be a difficult time for businesses – as this is a relatively new virus, we are all unsure how to proceed as we do not know for sure how it is spread. It can also be worrying for any business with scheduled trips abroad or employees that regularly travel out of the country on behalf of the business.
The NHS have suggested, based on other similar viruses, that it may be spread from cough droplets making their way into our systems through our eyes and noses. They have also stated that they do not believe that Coronavirus can live for very long outside the human body, so it is extremely unlikely that it can be spread through things like packages or food.
We do know that it is an illness that affects the lungs and airways, and will show itself in the following symptoms:
- a cough
- a high temperature
- shortness of breath
Please be aware that just because you have these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean you are infected with the illness. The symptoms of Coronavirus are very similar to symptoms one would get with the flu.
There has been a steep decline in the amount of people greeting others by way of a handshake. The alternatives being used are:
- Elbow Bump – touching elbows upon greeting
- Footshake – this has been seen a lot in China, where people greet each other by bumping their feet together
During an interview, we would suggest that if you or the interviewer do not feel comfortable with a handshake, then an elbow bump might be more appropriate, but make sure to check – please don’t walk into an interview and bash elbows with the hirer without prior warning! Remember to always wash your hands before entering and after leaving the interview.
When it comes to keeping a healthy place of work, there are some actions that should always be followed, however at this time it is more important than ever to keep these in mind:
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- keep all work surfaces/keyboards/computer mouse/telephones/headsets clean – disinfect regularly with antibacterial spray or wipes
- put used tissues in the bin immediately
- wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Remember, if you or an employee/colleague feel unwell, it is advised by the NHS that you seek medical advice from your GP over the telephone. Avoid attending your GP surgery or A&E so as to avoid the risk of spreading to other vulnerable patients.
We understand that we are in the midst of a very concerning time, but with Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, stating that people should be “going about their normal daily life because we want to minimise the level of disruption, subject to doing the things we need to do to keep people safe” it is important that individuals and businesses remain calm, and follow the procedures put in place to minimise the risk of spreading the illness. If you do need any help or advice during this time, regarding employees returning from foreign travel or staff shortages, please do not hesitate to get in contact with our HR professionals.
Headquartered in Cambridge with regional presence in Kettering and Milton Keynes, Aspire Cambridge provide cost effective Recruitment and HR solutions to an impressive portfolio of customers spanning the UK and Europe. Working with a diverse collection of industries from start-ups to blue chip companies covering a vast range of sectors. Aspire Cambridge has an unrivalled knowledge of the jobs marketplace so it’s no wonder that they hold an impressive track record of exceeding client and candidate expectations.
How do they do it? By “Placing People First”.
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