How has your company addressed their employee’s health concerns surrounding the coronavirus? The last several months have not been “normal” times for employers by any means. Seeing as coronavirus cases are on the rise across the nation, we are having to accept that, for at least the time being, that this is the “new normal”. So what does that mean for employers? As both unemployment rates and open jobs rise, it’s obvious that employees health concerns surrounding COVID-19 are as much of a concern as employers attempt to keep up with industry demands. This calls for businesses to develop new ways to address the common questions and concerns employers will continue to face in the upcoming months. Here are a few things to keep in mind!
Planning for the Future
It’s hard to plan for the future when you don’t exactly know what the future holds. Now is a great time to review practices, policies, and procedures your company is taking to keep your employees safe and minimize risk of exposure. Employers need to develop a carefully written “return-to-work” plan (aka an IDPRP — Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan). This plan should address any applicable federal state, and local return-to-work orders, workplace safety issues, screening measures, and other employee health-related matters. Have you developed flexible policies that will allow employees to stay home if they, or a family member, fall ill? In addition, it’s important that employers implement a policy addressing workers classified as high-risk for contracting COVID-19, and what safety measures and accommodations are in place to eliminate fears and concerns at work.
Preparing the Workplace
What measures has your company taken to ensure physical locations are ready and prepared for the future? Now is a great time to review the following practices and remind coworkers of them as well:
- advanced workplace cleaning and sanitation procedures
- readily available cleaning and personal protective equipment
- Hand sanitizer, face masks, gloves, face shields, etc.
- Screening procedures at the door (temperature taking and medical/health questionnaires)
- Company’s exposure to the public (limiting or banning guests from entering the building)
- Practice social distancing where applicable
- Place signage around the building, in bathrooms, and at drinking fountains reminding employees of proper hygiene practices and other safety measures
Communication with Employees
The best way to speak with employees who are reluctant about returning to work is to build trust and provide clarity. Employers should have a well-thought plan for a second wave of the pandemic and are able to clearly discuss the plan with their team too. Keep them up to date with weekly emails, virtual meetings, and inform them of updates as soon as possible. Have you considered why your employees feel nervous about working? It’s essential, now more than ever, that employees feel that their concerns are heard and understood. A few reasons why they may be reluctant to come back to work are:
- They don’t want to get sick
This is a natural reaction that a majority of the workforce is feeling right now. Employers can ease their mind by thoroughly communicating what they are doing to protect their employees.
- They’re immunocompromised
These individuals are at a greater risk of contracting the virus, which can cause life-threatening complications. Their concerns and the steps employers take to ease them should be taken seriously. Have a discussion with these employees about what is being done to protect them and options if they feel uncomfortable to return to work.
- Someone they live with is immunocompromised
Since there are no laws protecting these workers, this situation is a little more complicated. Review the situation from an empathetic standpoint and reevaluate. Do you have a policy for this situation in place? In these instances, having proper protocols, communication, and planning is important!
Hire for the Future
Whether employees are nervous about returning to work or are becoming fearful of a second wave of the pandemic, you can keep their health and safety top-of-mind. Employers can address concerns through planning, preparation, and communication. Are preparing to hire for a busy production season or looking to expand your team? Aventure Staffing is here to help! Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you hire for the future!