Navigating Life Post COVID-19
Updated: May 26
By Caitlin Ackerman
With more than 1.4 million Coronavirus cases identified to date in the US, over 86,000 deaths, and a big spike predicted to come this fall – is there a light at the end of this dark tunnel? What does life after COVID-19 look like and how will we know when we have officially arrived?
As many of us are quickly realizing, returning to our previous ‘normal’ is not as straightforward as we might have hoped. In fact, even with daily press releases, the reality is, there are still plenty of uncertainties when it comes to this pandemic. Across the United States, Governors are strategizing on the best plans of action for both citizens and the economy. Currently, 18 states, Washington DC, Guam, and Puerto Rico have ongoing stay at home orders to prevent the spread of the virus; and while thirty states have eased restrictions allowing certain business to reopen about 40% of America’s population (130 million people) are still under some form of lockdown. Plans to truly reopen wholly depend on the status of the outbreak. States and local municipalities are seeking to reopen in phases, but in between each phase is a period of waiting and watching. At this time is hard to tell when, how, and who will make it to the next phase and who will be rerouted back to the starting line.
Governor Newson of California has stated that he believes the shelter-in-place will begin to be lifted in a matter of weeks, with safety measures being implemented in businesses that do begin to reopen. However, in order to ensure the outbreak remains manageable, the complete termination of the shelter-in-place is suspected to end in a matter of months, not weeks, as we ease ourselves back into normalcy. There are many elements that we need to understand when asking questions about when we can return to what we once knew. At an individual level, we need to follow the best practices for physical distancing, wearing a mask, wash your hands often, and disinfecting surfaces. At a corporate level, where one manages groups of people, business leaders need to look to the CDC, OSHA, and medical experts for a strategy to reopen offices and bring teams together. Life after COVID -19 includes building on our foundational knowledge of the virus as well as planning policies to prepare for employees returning to work.
The California Department of Public Health in partnership with OSHA recently published a General Checklist of Office Workspaces. The checklist is intended to help employers implement plans to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and is supplemental to the Guidance for Office Workspaces. These documents identified key prevention practices including:
· Physical distancing to the maximum extent possible
· Use of face coverings by employees, customers, and clients
· Frequent handwashing and regular cleaning and disinfection
· Training employees on these and other elements of COVID-19 prevention plan.
Additionally, it’s critical to have in place appropriate processes to identify new cases and when they are identified to intervene quickly and work with public health authorities to halt the spread of the virus. With so many moving parts to prevention in the transition back to the office, FitPros is continuing to support our network and partnering with business leaders to keep employees safe, happy, and healthy.
As identified by the CDC and OSHA, employees need up-to-date, factual information on COVID-19; and with the grandiose amount of content floating in cyberspace it can be difficult to navigate the weeds. To understand what is actually happening is critical to a successful fight against this virus. Our FitPros roster includes front line workers, Infectious Disease Doctors, Epidemiologists, and community health experts who are setting the facts straight on COVID-19, educating on best practices, providing real-time updates, and sharing individual’s role in preventing the spread. Training topics include:
· Returning to Work Since COVID-19
· Integrative medicine approaches to supporting healthy immune systems during COVID-19
· Maintaining Emotional Health and/or Family Mental Health During COVID-19
· COVID-19 Fatigue and How to Deal
If your company does make the transition back to the office, symptom screening and/or temperature checks will be essential upon entering the building. With everything else going on upon your return, HR Managers cannot 1) be outside taking temperatures and 2) putting themselves at risk for exposure. FitPros can take this off of your plate with our COVID-19 onsite screenings. We will have our biometric partners at your doorstep conducting a series of questions and taking temperatures. We also soon will be able to conduct rapid antibody testing to screen for exposure to the virus prior to entering the building.
Return to Work Care Packages
Returning to the office requires strategy and compliance. Office spaces will need to be reconfigured to meet physical distancing guidelines, cleaning and disinfecting protocols must be frequently practiced, and specific worksite plans need to be made public. We have curated specific return to work packages to not only set the tone for a clean work environment, but moreover, to welcome employees back, help them feel safe/cared for, and assure that their best interest remains front of mind. Within this care package employees might find:
· A fresh N-95 mask
· Personal Hand Sanitizer
· Disinfectant Wipes
· Personal garbage bag
· Thieves essential oils
· Bottled Water
· Healthy Snacks
· Wellness Tip Sheets and Access to On-Demand Portal of Wellbeing Supports
These care packages coincide with Workplace Protocols and support Worksite Plans of Action, intending not only to supplement COVID-19 best practices but to continue to support overall employee wellness.
In time, we will transition back to the office but for the foreseeable future things that brought teams together such as Friday Happy Hours, Group Fitness Classes, Wellness Fairs, and more will be put on hold until the final phases of our return to normalcy plans are underway. But simply because your teams cannot all physically gather in one place, does not mean that your culture is depleted. FitPros Virtual Solutions will continue to bring people together for fitness classes, lunch and learns, mindfulness practice, cooking classes, CSR, and more! This year, FitPros can support your open enrollment season with our Virtual Wellness Fairs - a week or month of wellness activities seeking to elevate your community, connect with employees with local brands and their carriers, and have fun from in the comfort of their home.
For companies, who will be onsite and looking to engage employees in onsite wellness, FitPros assures our team will be following the protocols of the CDC and OSHA, as well as the worksite specific plan established by our clients. Physical distancing wellness solutions could include aromatherapy, acupuncture, succulent mindfulness, vision boarding, sound bath healing, and CSR initiatives. Each of these can be done with face covering at a safe six-foot distance apart. FitPros is known for being creative in spaces to make programs work for all, and this is no different.
In conclusion, there will be a life after COVID-19. We might not see it yet nor be certain what it may look like – but we do know that we each have a role to play to get there safely. We want our community (yes, YOU) to know, that we are in this together and FitPros will partner with you each step of the way to ensure that your employee's health and wellbeing is top is the priority and their needs are met.
If you in interested in learning more about FitPros and how we can support your transition back to the office or permit remote work, please email Hello@fitpros.com or reach out to your wellbeing manager for more information!
Return to Worksite Toolkit - Our partner's at Lockton put together a tool kit to support return to work strategy. Enclosed is a task force training guide, safety checklists, time off considerations, emotional health supports, and more.
If you would like to learn more email firstname.lastname@example.org and/or reach out to your wellbeing manager!