Covid-19 doesn’t discriminate.
Yet, we know at this time that there are people who are at a higher risk of serious symptoms more than others. And it is important that you take care of your team, the way you care for your dining guests.
How do you determine and manage your employees with higher risk for illness?
1. Identify high-risk staff members.
By understanding the factors that put you and your employees at an increased risk, you can apply and create appropriate safety protocols in your restaurants.
As people get older, the risk for COVID-19 increases, with the highest risk for 85 years old and above. You may not have octogenarian employees. Therefore, this is unlikely.
But another factor is having employees of any age with underlying medical conditions. Check out the updated COVID-19 guideline from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for people at a higher risk of health complications from the coronavirus.
Some business owners require a copy of medical records for employment, and some do not. If you have access to it, have a review and identify which of your employees are considered high risk. Yet, with or without a copy, have a talk with your staff about it, and if they do have an underlying medical condition, they should continue to follow their treatment plan.
Remind them to contact their healthcare provider if they have updated vaccinations (such as influenza and pneumococcal disease) as prevention from becoming ill with other conditions.
If they start feeling sick and think they may have COVID-19, they are strongly advised to get in touch with their healthcare provider within 24 hours.
2. Limit their exposure by offering options for job modifications
Consider other tasks that limit their exposure risk. If you have a high-risk staff in the frontlines such as dining staff, consider offering modified job roles such as administrative or in charge of inventory. The goal is to limit their exposure and chances of interaction with guests.
3. Restructured Schedules
- Staggered Shifts
Consider changing your schedule structure by creating staggered shifts wherein your employees start and finish work at different times.
A full-service restaurant will already have a form of staggered shifts for additional coverage and flexibility in their staffing requirements during the restaurant’s busiest hours. Yet this time, the goal is to stagger schedules to limit several employees from entering service doors, punching in and changing in dressing rooms at the same time. Keep your employees arriving and leaving at different times.
Also, discourage gathering in the back of the house for the usual chit chats at the end of shifts.
A good point to add here is that anytime schedules are involved, the skills and training of each staff member should also be taken in for a closer look. Which is why you need to fortify your staff training so that a person can multitask or perform other roles beyond what they were hired for.
- Groups and Batches
Another approach to containing possible exposure is to create batches where the same employees are grouped in a shift. This is to limit exposure across the entire staff.
- Staggered dining hours
Consider staggering and limiting the dining hours to control the number of guests in the establishment. If you are now adopting a reservation-only policy for dining, then this should work for you. Especially if the option to modify work roles for your high-risk dining staff is not possible. Guest reservations are spaced in five-minute increments to prevent too many guests gathered at the front door.
4. Back-Up Staffing Plan
Be prepared for absences or staff taking leave. We are living in strange times, and it is not surprising that your staff will prioritise their health and safety. To prevent putting a halt in your operation, connect with kitchen staffing agencies to assist you in your staffing problem. AnytimeChefs specialises in relief chefs, and we can provide professional chefs and kitchen staff for your urgent needs. We also support you in long term staffing, removing the guesswork in hiring the right kitchen staff and assembling the right kitchen team from your business.
Staying healthy during the pandemic is essential. Business owners should strive to create and implement safety protocols for Covid-19 which will protect both their guests and their team. Being mindful of your most vulnerable staff members and adjusting necessary workflows show good leadership which can make for more loyal and dedicated employees.
That’s it for this week.
As always, Professional Chefs on Call at Anytime!
Ciao for now,