March 19, 2020
5 Things Employers and Businesses Should Do For Employee Welfare
The Coronavirus scare, specifically the havoc wreaked by COVID-19, is evident throughout the globe. Daily, cases are rising and countries aren’t being able to keep up with the rapid increase in Coronavirus patients. Well, in such cases, it is prudent that everyone takes ownership and starts acting accordingly. One of the ways the virus spreads is by contact. Hence, it is important to limit contact. The next issue is news. It is very difficult to ascertain what is correct and wrong, as there are plenty of rumours. These need to be addressed, and the truth needs to be out.
Many cities worldwide have declared a shutdown. Schools, colleges and offices have been asked to close. People have been panic-buying essentials from supermarkets. In such times, employers and businesses must take certain steps to make sure their workers are safe and employee welfare should come above other organisational goals. Here’s what employers can do for employee welfare while making sure business does not necessarily suffer.
Work From Home.
The concept of working from home has become quite common, and employers must make employees stay at home and complete tasks. The virus spreads by touch, and no matter how much of hand sanitizer, toilet rolls, and Dettol wipes the office stocks up, there’s always chances of contamination. Having everyone work from home not only reduces the risk of infection, but it also allays the employee’s fears. People do not want to go to work and risk getting infected. As an employer, you must guarantee your worker’s safety. Don’t let them come to work, and let them work from home. COVID-19 spreads quickly, and even a single member of the staff infected might put the whole office at risk.
Robust and clear communication channels need to be maintained from all times. News of what the organisation is doing for hygiene purposes, articles and bulletins about Coronavirus, and other important pieces of information that people might find useful. Regular communication updates from the CEO will also ensure that employees don’t feel left out or alone. It is the responsibility of top management to establish communication with the rest of the firm to allay everyone’s fears. Another area where this helps is fake news. Now, with the world in a state of panic, it is but natural that there is a lot of fake news being peddled. People unknowingly pass around wrong information, and that can seriously cause trouble. For example, everyone thinks Coronavirus has no cure. Truth is, that you can recover if proper steps are taken. Rumours can be more damaging to society than the disease itself. So, a company might do well to help clarify to their employees what is correct and what is false information. If by chance a company has decided to keep a couple of days working at the office, then it needs to reassure its employees that it is taking proper anti-contamination steps. There should be more than an adequate amount of hand sanitizer, and Dettol wipes for everyone in the office. Any cleaning staff must be properly outfitted in HAZMAT suits, so they don’t get contaminated. People need to be encouraged to take extra precautions. Putting up signs asking people to frequently wash their hands, is a good idea. You could also get management to shut down the cafeteria for a few days. However, having said this it is still important that employees be allowed to work from home.
Support health agencies and governments in their endeavors.
Health agencies and government bodies are scrambling around trying to gather information about those who are infected, those who are in danger of getting infected, and how they can help both. Hence, organisations should do everything in their power to cooperate with such enterprises, both govt, and non-govt health agencies. If you have an employee who is showing signs of Coronavirus COVID-19, then try to convince the person to visit a health facility to get a check-up. Alternatively, you can organise a check-up in your office, and ask doctors and health officials to come, test everyone, and give the office a clean chit.
Develop robust processes to measure and maintain productivity.
Just because COVID-19 is prevalent doesn’t mean that work needs to suffer. A company needs to set up systems so that employees can work from home efficiently. The first requirement is communication. Ensure multiple channels are in place. Slack is a great way to keep in touch with multiple teammates at once while coordinating tasks. Try to use Google Hangouts or SKYPE, if you wish to have a video conference call with your colleagues. If you want to automate work tasks, use certain tools. For example, if you have a marketer making daily sales calls, try to replace that process with telephone conversations with prospective clients. A good process will ensure work carries on without a hitch, during these dangerous times of Coronavirus or COVID-19.
Revision of benefit policies in case employees are barred from the worksite, or it is closed.
An increasing number of employees might find it impossible to work either because they are sick, or they must care for others. Hence, companies need to review their paid time off and sick leave policies. There should be policies that give the employees confidence that they will not be penalised for taking time off. This is an important way to boost self-reporting and reducing potential exposure to Coronavirus COVID-19. Companies across Asia and the globe are shutting worksites. Most firms will treat Coronavirus in their policies as they would any other illness, and provide employees sick leave or short-term disability insurance. However, workplace exclusion might not be covered under disability policies, and the prolonged absence of a coronavirus patient or caregiver might last longer than available sick leave. Companies must be clear in these policies, and those who want to offer protection to their workforce should do so.
Hence, this is what employers can do to minimise the risk of contamination by Coronavirus COVID-19, and boost employee welfare.