The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic extends beyond the health industry. Apart from health worries, employment concerns likewise proliferate as the business and entrepreneurial sector moves towards a downtrend.
With the unprecedented reduction of socio-economic activities, more and more businesses are forced to stop operation or resort to retrenchment. In the United States alone, unemployment reached an all-time high of 14.70 percent in 2020.
In view of such a predicament, world leaders proposed and implemented stimulation packages to revitalize the global economy. In response to the government efforts, business owners likewise implemented small-scale versions of stimulation.
However, not all business owners and entrepreneurs are familiar with the proper employee management approach amidst pandemic. To give business owners like you a better grasp on employee management discussed further in this article are tips on how you may keep your workforce engaged amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
How Companies Can Foster Support to Employees During Pandemic
Provide Aid to On-Site Employees
Shelter-in-place and social distancing regulations amid the Coronavirus outbreak have forced several businesses to indefinitely close. However, there are still some key industries that are in operation. These essential businesses include those that manufacture and produce consumable and protective goods.
The top management of these businesses should provide ample protection to employees as they go by their everyday tasks and duties. Regardless of where the employee is assigned, may it be the office or warehouse, their health and safety should not be compromised.
Other than strictly implementing social distancing in the workplace, employers should provide personal protective equipment and sanitation products to employees. If any staff starts to show symptoms of the virus, the employee should immediately be ordered to self-quarantine.
Provide Financial Support
As most companies shifted to remote work setup to stay afloat during this crisis, the majority of non-essential employees experience difficulties in adapting to a work-from-home setting. For one, most homes are not prepared or even designed for a work-from-home setup.
Working on the kitchen counter, dinner table, or living room couch can be alright for a day or two. But it is not ideal for a long-term home office setup. Though most chairs at home could provide temporary comfort, they cannot provide the best back and neck support which ergonomic office chairs could give.
Moreover, not all employees have the luxury of making an immediate purchase of ergonomic chairs and tables to set up a home office. With most households right now experiencing financial constraints due to massive layoffs, investing in ergonomic facilities would be the last thing any employee would think of.
What business owners could do is to provide a form of reimbursement program to encourage remote employees to create a workable home office, since this new normal situation is likely to stay a little longer. Companies could borrow from mortgage companies, lenders, or banks to facilitate this financial assistance program.
Keeping communication lines open between top management and rank-and-file employees is also crucial during this COVID-19 crisis. The company’s human resource team should give importance to keeping everyone posted on any news and updates related to the pandemic. Such is an effective measure to avoid panic and misinformation within the company.
Aside from written communications, top management should consider reaching out to employees through visual channels. A brief video message posted on the company’s social media page or sent to every employee via email is more effective in catching attention.
Regularly Check With Employees
The normal office environment is a communal space that fosters significant interactions among co-workers. It is usual to hear a simple “how’s it going?” in the workplace. But with the outbreak of the pandemic, with no face-to-face interactions, these nonchalant exchanges became more important than ever.
Connecting with employees during these trying times is crucial. While most businesses focus on production, sales, and marketing to survive this crisis, importance should also be given to employees’ well-being. Despite the disarray brought by the pandemic to the workforce, top management should not defer online meetings or even brief check-ins.
After talking with employees about daily reports, accomplishments, and other office matters, you should somehow ask how they are getting by on a personal level. Show empathy and support for whatever personal issue they might be going through especially now. Also, advise them of any available healthcare services that they might need.
Allow Flexibility of Schedule
The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has also posed another problem for working parents. With schools and daycare centers closed, parents who are reliant on these services are facing difficulties juggling work and family responsibilities. To ease this burden, companies could offer flexible schedules or paid time off.
Showing compassion and kindness to your employees during these times of trouble goes a long way. By implementing any or all of these suggestions, you are not only helping your business but also the lives of the vital members of your company.