There is a lot for employers to worry about regarding the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Let’s be honest, with so much to think about, it’s impossible not to forget something.
We know the feeling. This is why we’ve put together some important things to consider and prepare for in the coming weeks and months.
- Stay in the loop. As a leader within your business, your employees look to you for information and direction. Make sure you’re up-to-date with all coronavirus news and how it will affect your business/employees. Remember, it not only affects you, but also your employees and their families.
- Make sure all employees have quick access to disinfectant wipes, soap, and hand-sanitizer. Also, make sure all employees understand how to help suppress the spread of the virus.
- Make sure employees stay home if they are sick. It will be difficult for the business, but a few employees is preferable to your entire workforce being out for the count. Working from home (more on that below) is always an option for employees with mild symptoms.
- DO NOT attempt to take an employee’s temperature to prove they are sick. This could be considered a medical examination and could violate the law. Also, it’s a good idea to not require a doctor’s note. Hospitals are over inundated (and will be more so as the virus spreads) and will likely not have the capability to confirm a case of coronavirus (at the time of this article’s publication). Also, if they aren’t sick, the hospital could expose them. Better safe than sorry.
- Cross train your employees in critical business roles. If employees maintaining business critical roles are too sick to work, even from home, there should be someone else that can take over in a moment’s notice.
- Figure out a remote work policy now. How would it work? What will your employees need to do their job remotely? How will they be managed? Are there employees that can’t work from home? Consider this before it becomes mandatory and you have to scramble to figure it out. Then, once everything is on paper, test it out. See where it falls apart and what you may have missed. More on remote work later in this article.
- Will you be paying employees that are too sick to work and/or self-isolating? Obviously, in a time like this many businesses are hurting, but if you’re in a better place, it’s a good question to consider.
- First and foremost, keep your employees in the loop. There is nothing worse than being concerned and left in the dark. Let your employees know your business’s sick leave/pay policy (government mandated or not). Make sure employees understand how to notify their managers if they are sick.
- Again, have sanitation policies and communicate them clearly with employees. Consider sending out an email with the CDC guidelines.
- As stated in #1, keeping employees in the loop is key. Keep them up-to-date with important and accurate information. Will there be a big change for the business soon? Let them know sooner than later. It gives you and your employees more time to prepare and work out any kinks.
- Whether your business’s employees are working from home or not, quick communication is important. Consider chat, messaging, and productivity tools designed for businesses to communicate in a quick and productive way. You can find some suggestions for business communication tools here.
Be sure to grab your Pandemic Response Plan here!