Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States has left many employers concerned about the impact that the disease may have on their employees and their overall business. Here are a few HR planning steps that you can take to increase your business’s resilience in the age of coronavirus. As a bonus, these items apply equally to the standard cold and flu season.
1. Have a strong, transparent remote work policy
A great remote work policy clearly defines when and under what conditions remote work is permitted (or encouraged), who is eligible, and any steps employees need to take in order to take advantage of the policy. Setting up a policy involves company preferences and current practices. One can be adopted and communicated with relative ease. Also, adopt best practices in keeping team building alive during COVID-19.
2. Encourage sick employees to stay home.
Again, this is as much a communication piece as it is a policy item. Make sure your employees know that the company does not expect them to report to the office if they are feeling unwell. In addition, you may want to encourage employees to utilize remote work resources if they believe that they have been exposed to COVID-19, even if they are not showing symptoms.
3. Employee benefits matter more than ever.
Employees have to be able to access their benefits information related to their health benefits, including how to access their insurance cards and how to find covered providers. If employees have questions, have them reach out to your HR provider. Or feel free to direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help get them the information they need.
4. Embrace remote work best practices.
Beyond a clear remote work policy, embracing best practices for remote teams can go a long way in minimizing disruptions from employees working unexpectedly from home. This means going the extra mile to communicate context in emails and messages, and embracing cloud-based tools that make remote communication easy. We love this guide to remote work put out by the team at Trello.
5. Keep your office extra clean.
This is a no brainer. Common items like hand sanitizer, tissues, spray disinfectant, and soap/paper towels should be available to employees at all times. Encourage employees to use common hygiene best practices like regular hand washing and sneezing into their arm. Consider scheduling an added shift or upgraded cleaning option with whoever is responsible for cleaning your office and office space.
6. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Don’t wait to tell your employees about resources that are available to them. We recommend sending an email sooner rather than later. It should contain information about the company’s remote work and sick policies. Include also the company’s plan for if COVID-19 becomes an issue in your local community. Lastly, if you need to relay COVID-19 information to your employees, make sure that you only use official information disseminated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or your state’s health agency. Informed employees make better decisions!
By taking each of these steps, you’ll not only be following common HR planning best practices, but you will be showing your employees that you are concerned about their health and wellbeing. (Edit July 2021: Here are 6 more thoughts we’ve added to make your HR Planning during the pandemic more effective.)
Disclaimer: Suitless does not provide medical or legal advice. The information in this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.