The WHO’s classification of the coronavirus as a pandemic, has employers around the world worried about their responsibility in ensuring the health and safety of their employees.
While the virus has taken most businesses by surprise, making sure HR policies and procedures are always up-to-speed for a crisis, will prove beneficial to your business. There is no need to panic, though. Even if your business lacks a Business Continuity Plan (BCP), there are still things you can do right now.
On a regular basis, and especially during times of crisis, it is of crucial importance to remain up-to-date on your country’s laws, news, and alerts. Always consider your country’s Work Health and Safety regulations to ensure that your HR policies and procedures are compliant with the law. Also, when in doubt, follow your country’s advice to employers. For COVID-19 specifically, every government has its own website regarding the procedures to be followed; here’s the one for Australia, Europe, and the US. The World Health Organization’s website is also being updated daily.
Keep your Employees Informed
Staying updated is of vital importance to ensure that your business is remaining compliant, but it is also necessary to keep your team informed and safe. Raise the volume on all of your internal communications; consider newsletters, flyers, and other forms of messaging that update your team on the latest news and ensure that they’re well-informed on best hygiene practices. Consider also providing hand sanitizers to your employees to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria.
Consider Work & Travel Restrictions
Following the rule of thumb of staying up-to-speed on all government updates, consider any travel restrictions imposed by your country to protect your workplace. For instance, advise your team to reconsider any travel and leave. If necessary, impose a 14-day self-quarantine rule for employees coming back from overseas travel, especially from areas with known outbreaks. Also, reconsider any business-related travel, and choose to limit it to cases where it is strictly necessary.
Set up Working from Home
If you haven’t already, make sure that your team can work from home if need be. This will not only ensure that the operations of your business continue as usual, but it will also reassure your team that your company is doing everything it can to keep them safe and on-the-job. There are several things you can do to make working from home go as smoothly as possible, including the implementation of online collaborative tools like Slack.
Make sure to reassure your team throughout a crisis to boost morale and keep anxiety at bay. This is also part of building a healthy and safe work environment for your team. Instilling panic would do the exact opposite, and will turn out to be incredibly counterproductive.
Ideally, all employers should have a HR contingency plan in place that prepares them for a crisis – even when business is running as usual. Having these pre-emptive HR protocols in place is a win-win for all; employers get to avoid potential legal fees and fulfill their responsibility of keeping employees healthy and safe.
Do you want to know what we are doing? Read the letter from our CEO detailing our own Business Continuity Plan.