On July 12, 2020, Governor Newsom announced that California would institute an order of additional stay at home restrictions. The only thing that is certain is that things will remain ever-changing.
Employees may be apprehensive to be in the workplace, even if their employer is following proper protocols. While all employees should have received training when they returned to work, it is the perfect time for a refresher. Your designated COVID safety representative can talk to your employees to see what is working and what is not. Ensure everyone is aware of what is expected and that these new guidelines are non-negotiable.
Employers can be doing everything right and still may have employees hesitant to return. It is important to hear their concerns and remain open and flexible to the extent feasible. Consider allowing someone to work from home and only visit the office for critical meetings. Be accommodating with employees who are taking time off to care for someone with COVID. While there are certain requirements put in place at the federal or state level, you can also always be more generous with your employees.
Each workplace is responding uniquely to this new order. While some companies have gone 100% remote, other employers have part of their staff working from home. If your work is deemed essential, you may still be fully staffed in the office. Staying connected from afar can be a challenge yet keeping in contact with your team is crucial. One of our previous posts about staying connected to your remote team can be found here.
The mental health of your team is also more important than ever. Employees may have financial concerns, some may have a family member with COVID, and others may be struggling with isolation from social activities or events outside of their home. Everyone has been impacted by COVID in some way, shape, or form. An article from our April newsletter about mental health can be found here.
As Governor Newsom has shared, employers need to create a culture that allows employees to feel comfortable calling in sick. Staying home to prevent the potential spread of COVID is key to returning to "normal." Employers should encourage those that are sick to stay home and not to return until they have been symptom free for 72 hours, without the use of fever reducing medication.
2020 has been a roller coaster. We have seen major shifts in our society as well as employment practices. Regardless of where your employees are working for the time being, remember that their health and safety is important. Your consulting team is here to support you as complex situations arise.