How to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus at IT Companies?

12 Mar, 2020

Dear members of Lviv IT Cluster, since yesterday, in Ukraine and Lviv in particular, educational institutions were put on quarantine for three weeks, and the number of border checkpoints decreased (only 49 out of 219 will continue operating). This morning, the United States announced a 30-day restriction on travel from Europe, Israel introduced quarantine for all foreigners arriving in the country, and Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and Hungary closed their borders with Italy. Airlines cancel their flights, in particular, Lufthansa announced 23,000 flight cancellations by April 24. What can IT companies do over the next month to avoid harming business processes and employees? We prepared the basic recommendations for you.

  • Restrict travel to foreign countries

Postponing a journey or vacation and canceling business trips are the best measures for your employees and you during the quarantine period and mass spread of COVID-19. According to recent news, entering the US will be restricted from the European countries over the next 30 days. The latest virus map updates show it’s better to refrain from visiting China, Iran, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, and within Europe, from planning trips to Italy, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Poland.

Restrictions on traveling abroad are predetermined, in particular, by the necessity to stay in crowded places (airport, plane, subway, hotels) and numerous contacts with those who might potentially be infected. If one of your employees comes back from a vacation or business trip, ask them to work from home for the next two weeks.

  • Conduct all meetings online

Meetings are an indispensable part of the work of teams and departments in any IT company; however, the way out during the quarantine period is conducting meetings online. Such measures will only enhance your employees’ efficiency of remote work and prevent close contacts of employees in the meeting rooms.

  • Look after the condition of open-space areas

Open space office is a practical and modern way of positioning company employees` workstations for better communication and productive work. However, during the spread of viral infections, open space offices can become a real threat to healthy employees.

Ventilation and disinfection of the premises after the workday, availability of antiseptic agents for employees are mandatory measures for safer work in open space offices.

  • Introduce quarantine for sick employees

If one of your employees has a cold, fever, enterovirus, acute respiratory infection, etc., make sure the person stays at home. Just one sick employee and one cough in the kitchen or open space area can cause infections or viruses spread to other employees.

  • Organize effective internal communication within the company

Proper communication will help deal with the panic. Communicate all the new company`s measures and rules of work and behavior of employees during the pandemic properly, carefully, and calmly.

Most importantly, show the following to your employees:

  • you consider work from home absolutely reasonable and justified;
  • you value every employee who comes to the office with cough, fever or headache to complete the tasks and catch up with the deadlines, but that’s not okay during this period;
  • business processes do not stop, deadlines are not postponed, work processes continue, and you are just trying out a new experimental model of work;
  • you care about the well-being of every employee, so ask all of them to report about their health condition. (In case a patient is diagnosed with  COVID-19, make sure to check where the person traveled and with whom they had contacts at work).

Pandemic is not an excuse for jokes and memes within the company, so do not forget about ethics. However, staying positive in communication is good advice. If the remote work of most of the employees shows good results, you can take this into account in the future and make adjustments to corporate rules. You can promise one day off called a “Child-free day” after the quarantine is over to employees who have children and spend 3 weeks under quarantine.

After all, the pandemic period is an opportunity for each of us to start being more aware of our health and finally learn how to wash our hands properly.