The COVID-19 outbreak is forcing many businesses to alter the way they work. This means many are facing the unprecedented challenge of managing a business through a global pandemic - while keeping their workforce motivated and focused.
For business owners questioning whether or not they’re doing right by their employees during these uncertain times, we’ve gathered up a list of important do’s and don’ts to managing your workforce amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Do: Educate Employees on the Spread of the Virus
Just like you, your employees are likely inundated with viral posts, family members eager to share what they’ve heard and news outlets contradicting one another. First and foremost, you’ll want to serve as a steady, grounded source of credible information for your employees. Reference official agencies and organizations that are at the forefront of this pandemic, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization when providing statistics, information on virus spread and prevention, etc.
Whether your state has placed a stay-at-home order on your business or you’ve chosen to take preventative action on your own, explaining how the virus spreads and what you’re doing to help prevent illness and protect your employees is important.
Don’t: Tell Sick Employees to Come to the Office
Simply put, if any of your employees are showing symptoms or simply don’t feel well, tell them to stay home. According to the CDC, the virus can be spread person-to-person through a variety of ways including:
- Close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
- People who are not showing symptoms disregarding social distancing1
It is not worth the risk of spreading the virus to have someone come into work. Putting the health of your workers, and yourself, first while limiting the spread of the virus is essential during a pandemic.
Do: Establish Multiple Communication Channels
In the wake of a pandemic, your business will not be running “business as usual.” This means that now more than ever you should put measurements in place that can help your business communicate effectively and efficiently.
Having numerous communication tools is a great way to do just that. For example, email is great, but consider adding an instant messaging program, such as Slack, into your toolset to encourage regular and quick communication amongst employees. This can also help employees who are used to seeing each other every day feel more connected to one another at a time when everyone’s at home self-isolating.
Don’t: Forget to Update Clients on How Your Business Is Handling the Crisis
Your clients are likely just as worried and concerned as your employees are during this time. Depending on your relationship with clients, keeping them well-informed on how your business is approaching a crisis may help ease their anxieties. For example, if you’re working on tight deadlines, assure your clients they will still be met. If not, be honest in helping them readjust their expectations.
In addition, you’ll want to make sure your website is up-to-date with any adjustments to your operating hours. Update contact information when you move to working remotely as well, so clients and customers can still get in touch with you in an efficient and quick manner.
Do: Reach Out to Employees
Everyone is nervous about the unknowns surrounding the current COVID-19 pandemic. This is the time to reach out to employees and let them know that you are there for them. While your employees are likely working from home, you can still express sincere concern and care during these uncertain times. Send personalized emails to employees asking how they are. Or, during video calls, you could take time to do a quick check-in with everyone. However you choose to approach it, your goal should be to ensure your employees and their families are doing okay during this time of extreme transition and stress.
Being prepared and having a set strategy in place is crucial in order to help your business continue to be efficient during a crisis. As a business owner or manager, the best thing you can do during a pandemic is ensure that your employees stay safe and healthy. Be flexible, open-minded and ready to put everyone’s health first.
Beacon Hill Private Wealth is an independent, fee-only, fiduciary investment advisor providing evidence-based wealth planning solutions that simplify our clients' financial lives. Founder Tom Geoghegan, CFP®, MBA is also a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA).
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