Readying Your Practice for Employee Safety in COVID-19 World

Tips and resources to help protect their health in the workplace


As an independent physician, you may be accustomed to keeping your offices clean and safe for all who enter — but to operate in a COVID world, it’s also important to rethink the daily logistics of running your business to help your employees and patients stay safe. Here are some things to consider.

  • Keep social distancing top-of-mind. Minimize face-to-face contact by keeping the 6-foot social distancing message constant. Even in a small clinic, placing markers on floors and stickers on walls can serve as reminders of proper hallway etiquette.  


  • Reconfigure personal workspaces. Determine what physical changes might need to be made to the office space to ensure social distancing. For example, install Plexiglas at the front desk and at other walk-up locations. Move desks or work stations farther apart, or leave one station empty and install dividers between people to maintain safe spacing.  


  • Face masks and wellness screenings: If you don’t already, provide all employees with face masks and set guidelines for when they must wear them. Consider asking every employee to conduct a daily wellness screening, including an at-home temperature check, prior to coming into work each day.


  • On-site cleaning: Increase cleaning frequencies and daily sanitation, especially in common areas and on surfaces such as door handles, counters, pens, furniture in waiting rooms, etc. Ask employees to help with sanitation efforts by wiping down all surfaces and areas they personally use.


  • Determine what can continue to be handled remotely. Some functions being done remotely in the short term could continue in the long term with proper equipment and technology. Ask yourself if scheduling, accounting or even telemedicine can continue to be done remotely if employees were issued secure laptops vs. office desktops?


  • Adjust work hours and schedules. Work shifts and appointment hours might be staggered or rotated for days or weeks to ensure fewer employees and patients are in the office at once. Spreading out office hours might also allow for more frequent cleaning and disinfecting.


  • Plan for staffing backups. If an employee is unable or unwilling to return to work for various reasons, such as lack of daycare or needing to care for someone who’s sick, plan for who could substitute.


  • Identify a point person for questions and concerns. If you don’t have a human resources person on staff, consider designating a point person for employees to go to ask questions. This can eliminate confusion and further demonstrates that you care about their concerns. Use educational materials from organizations such as the CDC to train the point person on common questions.


  • Evaluate legal ramifications. An employment attorney can advise you on potential legal issues that could arise from employees who are uncomfortable or unwilling to return to work, or who may request reasonable accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), among other concerns.


Here are a few resources for employers you may want to check out:


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Topics: Orthopaedics, Neurosurgery, Neurosurgical Care, Musculoskeletal Care, Spine Bundles, Healthcare Analytics, Orthopedics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Independent Physicians, Value-based care