As the new coronavirus COVID-19 continues to dominate headlines around the globe and people begin taking more strident precautions to avoid it, businesses are facing increased pressure to allow their employees to work from home until the situation is under control. The problem is, what if remote work isn’t possible for your business? Here is what to do if you find yourself in this situation.
Offer a Generous Temporary Sick Leave Policy
If you can’t offer remote work during the pandemic, the next best thing is to put a generous temporary sick leave policy in place. Encourage all employees to not come in if they are experiencing worrying symptoms. If an employee isn’t feeling well at work, don’t take chances and send them home. Being cautious can prevent further cases of the disease and save lives, though it is important not to fall into a panic.
Avoid Making Appearances at Events
Many events have been cancelled in the wake of the COVID outbreak, some voluntarily, others by government order. Even if your employees must physically come in to work, there is little reason to make appearances at events right now, especially if they are expected to be large gatherings. Avoiding these events can prevent your employees from picking up the virus and spreading it to either others at your company or your customers.
Improve Company Sanitation
Make sure your company has a ready supply of hand sanitizer, soap, and sanitizing wipes on hand so your employees can wipe down surfaces like keyboards, desks, and tables. Communicate with your cleaning employees or company to know what they are doing to ensure they are not vectors of disease. Have contractors check your AC system installation and heating systems, changing filters and ensuring they do not spread disease through your building. Make sure your business maintains a temperature that promotes health so the disease has less chance to spread.
Promote Correct Information and Good Hygiene Practices
Another thing you can do is ensure you disseminate factual information about the virus among your employees and your customers. This means getting your information from reliable sources such as the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and others. Spreading misinformation, even unintentionally, will not help and stands a good chance of making the situation worse. Also promote good hygiene practices, such as washing hands with soap and covering sneezes in sleeves. This is especially important for companies that provide a mobile service.
Stop Operations Altogether
This is not a scenario you want to face, but you must be prepared for it. For example, if your business revolves around large gatherings that have been banned by state and local officials, you may have no choice but to shut down temporarily. If you serve a population that is vulnerable to the disease and one of your employees tests positive for the virus, suspending operations might be the best decision.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has already disrupted lives around the world and the effects are only going to get worse before they get better. If your business is unlucky enough to not be able to offer remote work in light of what’s happening, you should still take other measures to keep everyone safe. Hopefully the pandemic will die down soon or treatments will become available so business can return to normal.