While many provinces in Canada and states, in the US are making plans to reopen, many of its citizens, don’t feel quite ready to go back — to work or business. As employers make plans to return to the workplace, they will need to carefully gauge how employees feel and what would make them comfortable.
Here are 7 steps to take to protect employees and your business:
1.Encourage employees to stay home if they’re sick and don’t ask them to produce a doctor’s note. Doctors have got their hands full, trying to deal with COVID-19. They don’t have time to write a sick note to confirm that an employee is sick. Also, avoid pressuring sick employees to return to work too soon, instead, encourage them to utilize your company’s leave policies or paid sick time.
2. Check the updates from government and health officials. Provinces, municipalities, Government of Canada the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have added useful information regarding COVID-19 on their respective websites.
3.Communicate with your customers. No one is immune to this crisis so, be transparent to customers about your business operations. Perhaps, hours of operation have changed or product offerings are now exclusively online.
4. Offer a remote work option. It wasn’t too long ago that some companies would balk at the suggestion of having employees telecommute for a day or two a week. Today, COVID-19 has made working from home the new normal. Offering employees an opportunity to work from home, even if its for a few days a week—can help prevent the spread of the illness, without exposing themselves or others to the virus.
5. Reduce onsite meetings and travel and instead, hold them virtually. If an employee gets sick because of business travel, you could see a spike in requests for time-off and low employee morale.
6. Institute and communicate workplace policies. Develop hygiene policies that are aligned with public health recommendations and that of your local, regional and federal laws. Post information for employees with on how viruses are transmitted and help employees practice healthy habits by providing tissues, no-touch trash cans, hand soap and sanitizer, and disposable towels. These practices will show employees that their employer cares about their well-being.
7. Maintain employee privacy. Treat all medical-related information about an employee’s illness with the strict confidence. If you plan on informing your workforce about a possible case of the virus in their midst, do not reveal the name of the employee.
There will be some uneasiness with the employees who return to work and for employees, while it is great that they are returning to a job, you can expect them to feel uneasy for some time. These employees will likely be keen see what health and safety practices are being employed to ease their fears.
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