The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis impacts us all. In this constantly evolving, volatile situation, it’s only natural for the workforce to turn to business leaders and human resources for authentic updates, direction, and reassurance. How can you tackle this responsibility and navigate the complicated challenge of balancing logistics, employee morale, and business goals?
Prevention and preparedeness have never been more valid or critical. The following measures should help you better manage the crisis and prioritize employee welfare.
The Big-Picture Approach
- Continually monitor WHO bulletins on the spread of the virus and prevention updates. Keep an eye on local and national advisories, including quarantine and treatment arrangements in your area and the latest WHO travel advice. Check for updates in India here.
- Issue advisories about where employees can and should not travel. Let them know that it is ok to decline requests to travel to impacted regions.
- Be prepared to implement procedures to close your work sites at short notice and cancel travel bookings, meetings, and conferences.
- Establish clear and reliable channels of communication to get important messages and updates through to all your employees, regardless of their location.
- Review your payment schedule, benefits package, disability insurance, and compensation policies in a crisis scenario.
- Form a small core team to handle coronavirus-related issues, giving them sufficient training and margins to make crucial, tactical decisions without having to clear red tape.
The On-The-Ground Approach
- Train managers and supervisors to spot possible signs of an infection and report it immediately. Acquaint them with basic prevention measures to coach their teams.
- Encourage increased use of technology to communicate and get work done. More and more team members may opt for work-from-home so meetings can be kept to a must-have minimum or done over calls and video software.
- Increase the frequency of cleaning common areas and routinely touched common surfaces like cubicles and desks, workstations, countertops and doorknobs.
- Provide plenty of soap , water, disposable paper towels, and alcohol-based hand sanitizers in and around the washrooms and common areas.
- Brief employees on these preventive measures:
- Employees should leave work if they develop these symptoms while at the workplace.
- They should shield coughs and sneezes with a tissue, elbow, or shoulder (not their bare hands).
- They should wash their hands frequently using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- They should avoid shaking hands in greeting.
- They should avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
- Employees should stay home if they have respiratory symptoms (coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath) and/or a temperature above 100.4 F.
Here’s a ready coronavirus guide on steps to follow as per WHO guidelines that you can send out to your people.
A little planning, an empathetic approach, and clear and frequent communication can go a long way in staying on top of this crisis. Let’s work toward it! Stay safe, folks.