A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

It was  first encountered in Wuhan in 2019 and affected more than 80,000 people across the globe causing over 2,700 deaths.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

HR leaders should safeguard against the spread of the illness, without causing panic.

To avoid the spread of misinformation, HR should endeavor to ensure that employees aren’t sharing false information or gossiping about others. HR should ensure that employees rely on facts, not hearsay.

HR departments should emphasize preventative steps for guarding the workplace against all viruses.

  1. HR should have a plan ready to deploy. That plan should be created in partnership with other departments, including risk management, finance and IT.
  2. Beside provisioning free masks and sanitizers, the cleaning schedule of the office can be increased.
  3. Senior management has to walk the talk to ensure they mask up wherever appropriate to.
  4. Temperature taking could be incorporated so that everyone in the office would have a peace of mind and not be paranoid that their co-workers may be infected. Such information should be openly available so that employees have complete trust in the information provided.
  5. Lunch could be catered so as to minimize employee’s exposure to crowded areas like the food center.
  6. Evaluate unnecessary domestic travel.
  7. Review basic health and safety protocols.
  8. Update your human resources policy.
  9. Keep employees updated.

In general, human resources departments should strive to contain the spread of communicable diseases such as the coronavirus by emphasizing employee hygiene, monitoring the spread of infection, and considering more serious emergency protocols if necessary.