After weeks of growing concern about the current COVID-19 or “coronavirus” outbreak, we want to ensure that everyone is doing their best to keep themselves healthy and safe both at home and in the office, all while minimizing the disruptions to our day-to-day lives and the firm’s business operations. We’re closely monitoring what appears to be a very fluid situation, and know that misinformation can spread quicker than the virus itself, and we want to discourage false information from circulating. If you’re looking for trusted, up-to-date information, we suggest visiting the specific coronavirus websites of the CDC or the WHO.
With that said, we want to take a brief moment to share the ways we can all help keep the workplace safe, as well as the steps we are taking as an organization, if and when necessary. Since the virus is highly contagious and there’s currently no vaccine, we all need to:
• Stay home if we are sick
Because the coronavirus produces cold-like symptoms in 80% of infected individuals, it’s important to remain at home when ill, regardless of how mild your symptoms are. If you experience cold, flu-like symptoms, or simply a running nose, stay home. If you have a fever over 100 degrees, stay home.
• Stay home if we’ve had contact with a potentially infected person
The virus spreads easily from person to person. Please make accommodations to work from home indefinitely if you’ve had contact with a confirmed case or potentially infected person. This includes persons returning from anywhere abroad. We all come in contact with friends and family on a daily basis, so be aware of the people you are coming in contact and think about where they have been and what they might be doing to prevent the spread of this disease.
• Refresh ourselves on proper cough and sneeze hygiene
Cover your nose or mouth with a tissue or your elbow — not your hand — and discard the tissue immediately after. It is not lost on anyone that, while the cold and flu season may be coming to an end, we have crazy weather around Baton Rouge and it is also allergy season. Again, we just want to be mindful of everyone around us!
• Wash our hands regularly
Proper hand washing remains the best way to prevent transmission of the virus. Simply washing your after using the restroom, touching your face, eating, drinking, coughing, or sneezing, and at regular intervals throughout the day should be the new normal. Use warm, soapy water and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Alternatively, alcohol-based hand sanitizer is effective as well.
• Stop touching our faces
Reduce the chance of transmission from touching things we commonly touch, like a doorknob, by keeping your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth until cleaned.
• Rely on virtual communication when possible
In an effort to cut down on human-to-human contact, please cancel in-person meetings and communicate via videoconferencing or phone calls, if possible and appropriate. • Get the flu vaccine Healthy individuals are less susceptible to contracting the coronavirus. Keep yourself healthy by getting this year’s vaccine. It is not too late. In turn, we are aware that things will come up and we will strive to address these hurdles as they come. We’ll ensure the workplace has hand sanitizer (until we run out) and cleaning products to assist in your personal hygiene. This includes tissues for use when coughing or sneezing (again, it is allergy season!) We will temporarily suspend unnecessary meetings in the office, and have clients and others come in only if absolutely necessary.
While we do not have a “work from home” policy currently in place, we will evaluate the option if the virus continues to spread. In the meantime, all employees will continue to work from the office. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.
Of all these measures, we cannot stress enough the importance of staying home when you’re sick. Please do your part to keep everyone safe and healthy by refraining from going to work with symptoms, even if you “feel fine.” We are an active practice with responsibilities to our clients, but we also have a responsibility to one another and want to stay safe and healthy. So, remember – aggressive personal hygiene all day, every day and be cognizant of each other’s personal space; and if you feel sick, let someone know and stay home!