As the COVID-19 crisis continues, jurisdictions will allow us to reopen, some faster than others, and with a variety of rules. The Insights Association has developed these guidelines to help marketing research and data analytics organizations prepare now to can get back to a semblance of normal business as efficiently and safely as possible.
These guidelines will be subject to change and adaptation as public health information and needs shift. We work in the real world, where risk can only be mitigated, not eliminated.
Please note that these general guidelines should apply for in-person call centers. However, since qualitative facilities have more complicated needs, IA provided more specific guidelines for those businesses.
- Spread out and dedicate workspace for individuals, allowing for secure, quiet, private places to work. Open floorplans will require significant (e.g., 6 feet) distancing between individuals and/or the addition of physical barriers between individual’s workspaces.
- Dedicate personal work equipment like headsets, phones, computers and writing instruments to individuals, and permit those individuals to take them home with them for additional cleaning and reduced exposure as feasible. Discourage workers from using other workers’ tools and equipment, whenever possible.
- Provide protective equipment and cleaning supplies to staff. Promote frequent and thorough hand washing, including by providing workers, customers, and worksite visitors with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, provide alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60% alcohol.
- Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick, especially if they demonstrate any COVID-19 symptoms.
- Provide customers and the public with tissues and trash receptacles.
- Allow all roles and staff to work from home for as long as possible, especially at-risk populations, to the extent possible for their roles and positions. Employers should develop policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), to increase the physical distance among workers and between workers and others.
- Maintain heightened housekeeping practices, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, equipment, and other elements of the work environment. When choosing cleaning chemicals, employers should consult information on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved disinfectant labels with claims against emerging viral pathogens. Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder-to-kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use of all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, as well as appropriate protective wear) .
- Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.
- Develop an identification and reaction plan for workers and participants who might be infected with COVID-19.
- Implement engineering controls, where possible, to reduce exposure to hazards, including high efficiency air filters, increased ventilation rates, and physical barriers (like plastic screens to sneeze/spit).
- Avoid in-person meetings. Use online conferencing, email or the phone when possible, even when people are in the same building.
- Unavoidable in-person meetings should be short, in a large meeting room where people can sit at least 3-6 feet from each other; avoid shaking hands
- Eliminate unnecessary travel and cancel or postpone nonessential meetings, gatherings, workshops and training sessions.
- Do not congregate in work rooms, pantries, copier rooms or other areas where people socialize. Keep six feet apart whenever possible.
- Bring lunch and eat at your desk or away from others (avoid lunchrooms and crowded restaurants).
- Avoid public transportation (walk, cycle, drive a car) or go early or late to avoid rush-hour crowding on public transportation.
- Limit recreational or other leisure classes, meetings, activities, etc., where close contact with others (outside of your fellow household members) is likely.
- Deploy the same practices for in-person research participants as you would for workers, including distancing, privacy, security, housekeeping, and equipment protocols.
- Clean well before and after any research participant visits a facility.
- More IA guidelines: Restarting In-Person Qualitative Research After COVID-19
This information is not intended and should not be construed as or substituted for legal advice. It is provided for informational purposes only. It is advisable to consult with private counsel on the precise scope and interpretation of any laws/regulation/legislation and their impact on your particular business.