At the time Biden took oath, the United States was on a seven-day rolling average of 3,000 deaths per day and almost 20,000 newly diagnosed cases of the Covid-19 virus. Promising to get to work and fill the gaps left by the prior administration, Biden stepped up to the plate, signing his first of many executive orders known as the “100 Days Masking Challenge.”
While federal agencies are mandated to comply, large to small-scale businesses across the U.S. are free to choose whether or not they participate. Individuals and companies alike face issues when attempting to comply. Those who take the challenge have to organize the “who” and “how” when paying the bill. Both individuals and companies will have to do some out-of-the-box thinking.
Face Masks Are the New Black
It’s no doubt that the face mask has become one of the most trending accessories of the 2020s. The cloth fabric has proven a sturdy shield against the spread and contamination of the virus, significantly reducing the daily growth rate in areas that have enforced their use. However, even with facts presented in studies by accredited institutions, the United States was hesitant to require them. Now that there’s been a shift in power, the country is fighting to take control of the virus. The goal is to slow the spread until a vast majority are vaccinated. Asking companies to require masks is just one small step in the battle against Covid-19, accompanied by issues that businesses in the country must consider.
Covering the Cost
The main issue in participating in the facemask challenge comes from the cost. Asking businesses to require their employees to wear masks is the easy part. However, making it happen is much easier said than done. Reusable facemasks in the United States can go anywhere from $0.58 to $30 a pop. It’s not ethical nor legal to require employees to purchase or wear masks, especially if they’re struggling economically. Most businesses that plan to participate with the government’s efforts to reduce the spread of the virus stepped up to the plate but too realized the cost quickly adds up. Using masks safely and correctly requires proper disposal daily and fresh new facemasks every day if not multiple times per day. That means that, for a small office of 10, a minimum of 50 reusable masks for single-day use.
If offices require that employees wear a facemask, they might want to explore options to pitch in. Asking everyone to purchase a facemask could be unethical and single out those who are having economic difficulties. We are dealing with a unique situation that has shut businesses down and kept people from working for over a year. Attempting to create a healthier workplace should be a joint effort and include both executives and employees.
Keeping Employees Covered
Another issue that arises when stepping up to the challenge is keeping the stock replenished. While a small office of 10 like our example above may not get too overwhelming, imagine an office of 100, 500, 1000. The organization and management of such a change in health practices in the office takes a team effort and, more importantly, time on the clock. After the organization, there comes the need to keep masks readily available for all employees and enforce strict rules for use and reuse. Facemasks might have a good reputation for standing up to the virus but can prove ineffective if improperly used.
If companies decide to require employees to wear a facemask, they have a long list of issues ahead. First of all, it’s not legal to punish employees without a proper mandate or policy. Secondly, interfering with an individual’s health choices is considered outside of company rights. Every individual is free to choose how they handle healthcare issues unless the government creates orders. Last but not least, the entire atmosphere of the office could be at stake. Lack of communication among employees and management can create tensions and cause an outroar if policies change.
Dealing with Office Ethics
Living in a democratic country means there’s a lot of freedom to choose. Perhaps the biggest issue that comes from attempting to enforce government-mandated health protocols in the office is that it is s not legal. Each employee has the right to sit out on the challenge, choosing whether they wear a facemask or not. Companies cannot enforce these new mandates and can not fire employees for an unlawful reason. With so much debate and division in America’s battle against Covid-19, getting the entire office on board is possibly the biggest challenge of them all.
People are free to choose whether or not they wear a facemask. They are also able to elect their media source and believe any news they choose. Views that do not correspond create tensions that taint the peaceful office atmosphere. While come can co-exist, others cannot deal with others that see differently. Not seeing eye to eye is perfectly normal, as long as each person is respectful. Companies may end up having to extinguish more debates between those who agree and disagree with a new policy.
How Businesses Can Tackle the Challenge
In the end, successfully participating in the 100 Days Mask Challenge is a question of logistics and ethics. Businesses need something that is both affordable and easy to incorporate into office life. On top of that, organizations must consider the proper disposal of facemasks to avoid contamination or unwanted spread.
Incorporating new health practices in the office is a challenge for many reasons, like keeping track of items. Companies like Intrepid, an American-based healthcare manufacturer, aim to help companies overcome this issue. Instead of relying on a small team or committee to keep track of orders, companies can do the math and place orders to keep each of their employees is safe. In addition, by purchasing American masks made in the USA, companies are doing their part to secure their employees plus, giving a much-needed boost to the American economy.
While this tackles two of the largest issues, there is still one in the air. The ethical issue is something that the country will continue to deal with as there seems to be no end in sight. When dealing with individuals in the office that do not wish to participate, companies have to use caution in their treatment to avoid legal action. Some companies are taking measures to educate their employees on the virus and its dangers. Others are staying out of it and giving their employees the right to do as they please.
Dealing With Difficult Situations
A global pandemic is a sensitive issue. Some Americans have lost family or loved ones, while others have not been affected at all. We are all dealing with the shift from what we thought was normal and are all on edge. When dealing with difficult situations in the office, it’s best to bring in Human Resources and tread lightly. Every American has the right to decide how they care for themselves, including whether they wear a mask. There are few states where facemasks in public spaces are required, though that will likely change.
When attempting to switch to wearing masks in the office, everyone should keep an open mind. It’s best to approach the situation with facts and remain calm when dealing with criticism. While there may be a small majority that does not agree, educating them on the effectiveness of a facemask could deem worthy. If not for themselves then, it could be more of a group effort. It should be about helping to keep all Americans and their families protected.
To Wear or Not to Wear? That is the Question
The Covid-19 pandemic is a new experience for both individuals and organizations. Never before have we faced an issue on such a large scale and for such a long time. While the American people are under new leadership, they remain divided over several issues. As a company, the 100 Day Mask Challenge is something to consider. The proven effect of their use on the rate of infection and the overall spread is promising. At least these facts are something that can hold the world over until a large majority are vaccinated.
Just like all debatable issues, they are much easier to tackle if everyone is on board. While subscription PPE makes life easy and provides a cost-effective and easy-to-manage option to supply employees with masks, it cannot eliminate the issues that come from employees exercising their democratic rights and choosing to sit out on this round of office health mandates. When dealing with difficulties, it’s best to practice patience and handle issues with care. We are all dealing with this pandemic day by day, awaiting the moment when it is all over. Things will go back to the way they were before. How long will that be? No one knows for now. We all will have to wait and see what comes next.