Your employee, Jim, has just informed you that they tested positive for COVID-19. Your palms start sweating. Are your employee health tracking measures up to date? You know that Jim has worked with various co-workers over the past two weeks. He’s also scheduled for many upcoming shifts in the next month!
What now? Is your employee health screening process good enough? Should you and your whole team be testing for COVID-19?
You’re not alone. Many businesses can safely continue operations even after an employee has tested positive for COVID-19. You can prevent an outbreak with a thorough employee health screening process and ensure your business continues to run smoothly. But you need to take action ASAP.
1) Employee Health Screening: Find out which team members were in contact with the COVID-19 positive employee.
(Start as soon as possible.)
For the safety of the public and any vulnerable family members that your team may be in contact with, this initial step needs to be completed as soon as possible. You need to know what shifts your COVID-19 positive employee Jim has worked, and who he has been working with.
If you use a scheduling tool that records all of your employees’ shifts, employee health screening is easy and you’ll be done in under 10 minutes (see below for details).
If you do not use a real-time employee scheduling tool, you may have to take the afternoon off to complete this crucial step. If this is the case, we will help you sort out who needs testing:
(Approximate time to complete: 3+ hours)
- Ask the COVID-19 positive employee which shifts they have worked in the past 2 weeks.
- Communicate with supervisors or employees who have worked those shifts to see if there were any last-minute shift replacements that were not recorded.
- Locate all employees that were in contact with the COVID-19 positive employee during their infectious phase (2 weeks prior to experiencing symptoms).
- Ensure that these employees are not working any new shifts until they undergo a COVID-19 test. There can be no exceptions, this is a critical part of your employee health screening process. **Note: It is important to inform them of this change immediately so that they do not come into work thinking that they are still on the schedule.
- Rearrange the upcoming schedule for the next 3 weeks so that all upcoming shifts are covered with qualified employees who were not exposed to any COVID-19 positive employees.
- Ensure all employees understand that regular employee COVID-19 testing is expected as part of your employee health tracking process.
Here is a sample message you can use:
I’m sorry to inform you that your co-worker, ______, has tested positive for COVID-19. Unfortunately, until we receive a negative COVID-19 testing from you, we need to suspend your shifts for the time being. Regular employee health screening is required for all team members before shifts, regardless as part of our employee health tracking process. Ensure you complete your employee health screening form for all future shifts.
Please stay safe and inform those whom you have been in contact with about your potential COVID-19 exposure.
As promised, there is an easier way to figure out which of your team members were in contact with Jim. A real-time scheduling tool can help you quickly swap shifts and keep your business running smoothly while prioritizing employee health.
If you do use a real-time employee scheduling software, look at who was scheduled to work on the same days and at the same location as your COVID-19 positive employee, Jim. (There should be a very simple way to review all the shifts that an employee member was scheduled for.) Once you review Jim’s shifts, you can quickly cross-reference those shifts with the shifts of team members. This will only take 5-8 minutes.
If you find yourself in a bind after reshuffling your schedule and are short-staffed, try using a temp staffing platform where you can easily offer any shifts that need to be covered to a pool of qualified and vetted temp staff in your area.
2) Communication is key: Your entire team must be informed of the COVID-19 exposure.
(Try to complete this within 12 – 24 hours.)
Your employee and customers deserve to be aware of the situation and should feel confident knowing what your safety and employee health screening plan is moving forward. (Note: If you have an employee health screening plan in place, great—you’re ahead of the curve! If you are not yet well-equipped with one and need to learn more about developing a health-tracking plan, we’ve got you covered with our tried and tested Hyre health tracking plan.) Below is a sample message that you can share with your team and customers to show your business is proactive about employee health screening, ensuring their safety and preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Message for the team:
On (INSERT DATE), one of our team members tested positive for COVID-19. They were working on (INSERT DATE / TIMES WITHIN THE LAST TWO WEEKS). I have contacted every employee member that was working those days individually to inform them that they will need a negative COVID-19 test before returning to work.
Please note, if you have been assigned a new shift, this was done for our team’s safety. We need to give those who were in contact with our COVID-19 positive team member the necessary time to get a COVID-19-negative test result prior to returning to work. For all future shifts you must also complete our employee health screening form as part of our employee health screening process.
I want to assure you that we are taking every measure to ensure your safety, and to remind all of you that we need your help to do this. Please contact me if you have any questions.
Thank you very much.
Message for customers:
Dear valued customers,
On (INSERT DATE), one of our team members received a positive testing for COVID-19. They were working on (INSERT DATE AND TIMES WITHIN THE LAST TWO WEEKS). If you have been in contact with an employee on those days, please get tested and inform all those that you have been in contact with. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
What actions have we taken internally: Every employee member that was working those days will need to test negative for COVID-19 before returning to work. Regular employee COVID-19 testing is required in our employee health tracking plan. Our team has an employee health screening process that ensures every employee member completes an employee health screening form before arriving to work, and we are taking every measure to ensure this is a safe place for our employees and patrons.
Thank you very much for your understanding.
Communicating quickly is key and Hyre makes it easier to contact team members all in one place. Whether it’s about employee health or availability, you can see your employee’s latest updates. That way, there’s no back and forth questions repeated around employee health screening for every team member you need to reschedule.
3) Refine and reinforce your employee health tracking plan
(Complete within 24-48 hours)
Take control of your business’ health and safety by deploying a well-thought-out employee health tracking plan. (For a more in-depth safety and employee COVID-19 symptom tracking plan, see here). Setting a plan in motion helps protect customer and employee health, giving them confidence in your business. Implementing preventative measures today will save you time, stress, and energy tomorrow. It’s better safe than sorry when it comes to testing for COVID-19.
If your existing employee health tracking plan is not automated into your employee scheduling process, take the following steps:
(Approximate time to complete: 2 hours a day for every 10 employee that are on the schedule)
- You can use our employee health screening questions as a guideline to simplify your operations.
- Message every team member a day before their shift to complete an employee health screening questionnaire.
- Reinforce the process with supervisors: every team member must complete the employee health screening questionnaire before attending a shift.
- If any employee does exhibit symptoms, immediately arrange for another available employee member to take their place. The employee with symptoms must undergo COVID-19 testing before returning to work.
- If needed, replace the shifts of employees who failed to complete the mandatory employee health screening questionnaire. This will help you reinforce the fact that there are no ifs, ands, or buts when it comes to completing the simple and preventative questionnaire prior to attending every shift. (You should be very strict here as this will keep your business open.)
If you do have an automated employee health tracking plan in place, you don’t need to lift a finger. For example, if you’re using an employee scheduling platform like Hyre, you can expect the following:
(Approximate time for employees to complete: 0 – 2 min)
- An automatic text with a link to our COVID-19 employee health tracking questionnaire will be sent to your employee the night before their shift and 2 hours before their shift.
- If any employee indicates that they have symptoms, they will be automatically taken off the shift and (with your approval) be replaced with another one of your eligible team members. The employee with symptoms must undergo COVID-19 testing before returning to work.
- A reminder prompt will be sent to any employee who does not complete their employee health screening questionnaire within the allotted time frame.
Take a deep breath, and stay calm. You can’t control what happened in the past, but you can set yourself up for success in your future. Having a robust employee health tracking and employee scheduling process is part of that. Empower your business with tools that keep your team and customers safe.
Start your free trial with Hyre today.
Safety during COVID-19 with Hyre:
- Touchless communication
Staff can clock in and clock out from their phones without touching pen and paper. All you need to do is print a QR code, or have it up on an iPad.
- Easy employee health tracking and scheduling
24 hours before each shift, staff gets an automated employee health screening questionnaire on COVID-19 symptoms. If they are exhibiting any symptoms, a replacement will be found.
- COVID-19 tested shift replacements
Last-minute replacements are vetted with a COVID-19 negative test within the past 48 hours, and the proper certifications for their role. You don’t need to lift a finger for them to undergo COVID-19 testing.
- Touchless communication
“The Hyre team has great communication, and whenever I have a last-minute cancellation they are very responsive to find an available individual. I am grateful for their support!” – Carol Hunt