I had the pleasure to talk with Alan Kohll, President and Founder of TotalWellness. Alan is an expert in health and safety policies at workplaces and a regular contributor at Forbes. The aim of this article is to discuss and inform our readers about what they can do in order to maintain/improve health and safety regulations at their workplaces.

Alan, what do you suggest each person/employee can do to respect the health and safety regulations of the workplaces and protect his/her colleagues?

There are many things employees can do to improve conditions at their workplaces. Wash your hands regularly, bring your own pen, avoid touching things around you, do not share your mobile/laptop. Here, you have to keep in mind your mobile phone is dirty every time you touch it with dirty hands. You should disinfect your phone/laptop/iPad regularly. Nowadays, every person should think about her/his own health, try to avoid situations where you could get sick. Keep your body healthy, exercise, eat healthy and reduce stress levels. Stress is in many cases one of the main factors why we are getting sick. Try to avoid these situations. You can try yoga and meditation to improve your overall wellbeing. Last, but not least, in case you feel sick do not go to work, stay at home.

What a workplace can do to maximize the protection of its employees? How to keep your workplace safe from the outbreak?

Again, there are many things employers can do. One of the most efficient things is to keep employees separated, reduce the number of people sitting in one room, for example. In flexible workplaces, they could ask their members to fill in questionnaires to monitor their health/travel history. Regarding the current situation with the pandemic, I assume, in less than three months, in the USA there will be an accurate instant test, that you will just take and you will get results within an hour.

Currently, in China before entering shops, bars or workplaces they are measuring the temperature of the clients/employees, do you think this is an effective measure, since we know some of the patients do not have symptoms?

This is difficult to say since there are many people that are asymptomatic. It can help in some cases, however it is not 100% guarantee. For instance, some of the US employers are already measuring the temperature of their employees.

Do you think this will be a long term crisis? Are we speaking about weeks or months?

I am afraid, the situation that we are facing currently will be a long-term issue. I also assume, similarly as flu, there will be seasonal outbreaks, so it will come and go in waves.

Do you think the crisis we are facing right now will influence workplaces greatly? What will be the outcome/regulations in the future? Do you think that the current rules for health and safety will change?

This is a very difficult question to answer. I assume, what might happen is that in the future, the flexible workplaces and employers will ask you to present a vaccination book, like they are now doing in kindergartens, and people who were not vaccinated against certain diseases will not be assumed/allowed to work in these spaces.

Do you think there can be a positive effect in the future related to remote work? For example, currently, many employees are forced to work from home, maybe after the crisis there will be an entire shift of the working culture? Employers will realize, OK people actually can work remotely, so let´s do it.

Yes, this is a very possible side effect. Remote jobs are currently booming and I think with the current crisis both demand and offer will only increase. Employers will also realize, that if you can trust your employees, it does not matter if s/he is working from the office or from home. Anyway, even employees who come and work from the office can be not very efficient. From my point of view, a majority of people that are working from home are more productive than the employees working from the office, since they want to show to the employer that s/he can trust them.

Do you think that the economic crisis that will follow the current situation will impact all continents/countries on the same level, or is there a continent/country that will be less/more affected?

Of course some countries will be more and some countries will be less affected. It depends on a number of factors, some countries, as for example New Zealand, are more isolated. So they should be less affected. This also depends on the health care system, what precautions the government will take and what is the cultural background of the citizens (if they are keen to respect the rules etc.). So as I said, there is a number of factors that will influence how badly the country will be affected.

If you would like to know more about Alan, please feel free to visit his profile here. Written by: Kristina Lukacova