CULTURE WORKS – WE KEEP YOU TOGETHER WHEN SOCIAL DISTANCING KEEPS YOU APART!
CULTURE CONNECTIVITY FOR YOUR PURPOSE, PEOPLE AND PROCESSES.
CULTURE CONNECTIVITY FOR YOUR PURPOSE, PEOPLE AND PROCESSES.
There can be a lot to consider before you begin the process of opening your business in full force. Here are a few tips to consider before you start embarking on the journey to open your business completely:
One thing you must consider is if you are allowed to open, and if you are deemed essential. With different phases being rolled out in different states, identify which phase your business falls into. Research the most recent federal, state, and local regulations. When you do decide to reopen ensure you are following the most restrictive orders– which tend to be state and local orders. Employers who have 500 employees should consider the FFCRA limitations, depending on industry and classifications.
Next, you should identify who needs to be involved in the reopening. Create a task force and make sure that the task force represents all areas of your workforce. The key is to create buy-in from ALL employees. These are your culture ambassadors who will help you alleviate employee anxiety about returning to work.
Assign ownership of various reopening tasks. Who is researching the most recent regulations? Who is handling communications? Who is feeling the current mindset of your staff? Who is implementing new office procedures? Divide and conquer!
Consider symptom screenings and personal protective measures. Create an implementation strategy for all employees, customers, and the public on what type of screenings will be performed. Determine what PPE you need to provide. For those in California, Cal OSHA is a great resource to see what is required by industry and classification. Regulate common areas. Limit the amount of in-person meetings that are taking place, and limit the number of people who can be in one space at a time.
Also, consider physical distancing requirements. Lay out an implementation strategy for your employees, your customers, and the public.
Next, create a business continuity plan. Create flexible leave and supportive policies and procedures, and prepare for a potential spike in absenteeism. Determine the team you need to continue your business and identify the efforts that you need to sustain it.
There will likely be updates to your HR policies. Be prepared to follow new privacy considerations to follow under HIPAA and update your policies to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19. Stay consistent. Make sure that none of the actions you take can be seen as discriminatory. Everyone should be treated equally. Monitor employee travel. Travel restrictions or requirements may be considered. If an employee is traveling to an at-risk area, you may want to ask them to stay home in quarantine for 14 days following travel.
Consider legal liabilities of vendors, customers, or visitor infection claims. Know the federal, state, and local guidelines to reduce the risk of liability claims. Defer your State Workers’ Compensation laws for any questions regarding your liabilities. Follow social distancing and cleaning regulations. Monitor incoming visitors and vendors.
Remember that not all employees feel that same. Some are afraid and some are more adventurous. Take a pulse of your team– where are they at and what do they want? Consider best practices for making employees feel comfortable versus what is required. If you are following guidelines and you are an essential business, you can require an employee to come back, but treat this on a case-by-case basis. Build trust through this process with your employees no matter what your belief level is. The way you handle the process will pay dividends from an emotional standpoint. How do we get creative with this? How do we pivot? There are many hybrid workforces out there now who are working both remotely and in-office. Consider a tiered return to work schedule. Limit exposure and allow people to feel more comfortable in returning.
Staggering schedules with fewer people in the office at a time allows for more small group discussions. Remote work days allow for more coaching time because there is less travel time and more time for one-on-one virtual interaction. By slowly bringing your staff into the workplace, you will gain a happier, more confident staff versus a team who feels scared and forced to come back. Your business will need to be more efficient and more resilient– make the most of your human capital!
Create a breathing room. Utilize the time while your staff is remote to create open spaces for the return to work. Find ways to open up collaborative space that allow for distancing. Utilize outdoor spaces. Encourage a healthy work environment by creating an outdoor workspace for employees. Bring remote workspaces into your workplace. Create the capability for employees to utilize different spaces in the workplace throughout the day with portable workspaces.
Keep employees informed. Give them time to communicate their concerns. Employees want to hear from you now more than ever! Send out new guidelines to employees on the new office safety measure to ease anxiety. Ask supervisors to hold one-on-one virtual meetings with their team members. This allows employees the opportunity to communicate questions/ concerns they are not comfortable addressing in a larger forum. Send out the schedule at least a week in advance. Give your employees time to plan their return to the office. Remember that some have dependent care to consider.
If one of your team members test positive or has been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19:
Look at your insurance premiums. Can these be lowered? File a business interruption coverage claim no matter what! Review your eligibility for returns on insurance premiums. Bid out your insurance coverages to see if lower rates are available.
We know this can be an extremely difficult time to manage your business. If you need further HR consultation or information, contact us!
Practical steps you can take to make your company culture (and yourself) even better.
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