The coronavirus pandemic has impacted hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, forcing officials to impose emergency measures in a radical effort to curb the spread of this disease. As an HR professional for an SMB, what can you do to help minimize the threat to your hourly workforce?
Here are a few tips on how you can help protect your employees during this challenging time.
1. Cancel or postpone in-person meetings
Due to the wonders of technology, meetings no longer have to be face-to-face. Most meetings can be conducted online via video call, using apps such as Zoom. It may take a bit of adjustments at first, but employees and clients alike are sure to appreciate that this measure is being done for their safety and convenience.
2. Keep lines of communication open
Don’t leave your hourly employees in the dark - utilize different platforms to keep them in the loop regarding critical updates. It’s important that your employees feel that you’re paying attention to the crisis and how it can impact them. You can use automated texting, post on the company’s intranet, send out an email newsletter, or fall back on the classic bulletin board.
3. Limit unnecessary travel
Postpone any trips, whether local or overseas, until the pandemic has died down. The CDC has issued a list of countries that have a Level 3 Health Notice (meaning there is still widespread transmission), and has also recommended foregoing any group gatherings. That means that conferences, seminars, trade shows, and similar events are temporarily out of the picture.
4. Educate them on self-quarantine and available leave benefits
President Trump recently signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a new law that aims to alleviate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This is particularly helpful for SMBs as it caters to businesses with no more than 500 employees. Employers can provide paid sick leave to their affected staff, which the federal government will reimburse, following certain guidelines and conditions. Encourage your employees to utilize this paid leave if they fall under the cited conditions; it will help promote transparency if they don’t need to fear losing their jobs or using up all their leaves due to the virus.
5. Provide a work-from-home option when possible
This may not be suitable to all roles, but whenever applicable, offer the option to work remotely. Enabling members of your staff to work from home will help keep the business running even in the face of emergency quarantine measures, cut back on operating costs, and ultimately, maintain employee and customer safety.
Remember that your hourly employees are the lifeblood of your business - they are a resource that should be taken care of. As an HR professional, you have a duty to consider their well-being, enforce proper safety protocols, and support the company as a whole in weathering this ongoing crisis.
Part-time content marketing writer at Workstream, full-time mom and chef wannabe. Currently catching up on her reading and trying out new recipes in the kitchen.