What hasn't been said about the Coronavirus over the past several weeks in the HR community? I can't think of a thing? Over the past two weeks at least, I've been doing nothing but talking, listening, watching, researching and responding to questions from clients, students, family, and friends about this topic much like the rest of the world. The following is a list of what I think is the most important things I have learned and suggest employers consider if they have not already done so. I call it the three C’s of Coronavirus for HR and Employers.
1. Compliance with new local, state, and federal employment regulations covering employees. This covers quarantine rules, time off, protected time off, unemployment, and even paid time off in some cases depending on the size of the organization.
2. Cleanliness with the CDC and WHO. Sure most organizations have cleaning companies that might come into the workplace once a week. How many of you have them daily and now multiple times a day? How many of you now have to lock up your cleaning supplies and toilet paper so your employees don’t take them home and leave you without which won’t’ make it easy to keep your doors open.
3. Compassion with your employees. Remember, when we get out of this pandemic and we will get out of it eventually, the labor-market will still be tight! That means HR and Management needs to step up to walk the talk of compassion, kindness, understanding, and empathy. It means you might have to bend the rules a bit in times of uncertainty. It means what worked before may not work now. However, never forget the basics of HR using the three D’s Document, Document, Document. Whatever, precedence you do set now may come back to haunt you later. However, you will need to have employees to keep the doors open then too. So tread lightly!
Additional ideas I picked up from various webinars are as follows:
· If you plan to take employees temperatures as they enter the building (drawing a line to get in) which the EEOC approved, do so in private. Also, have a back way out so if they do have a temperature, they can leave in private to protect their HIPAA private health information rights.
· Get comfortable using remote technology to conduct business. There are many resources out there that are easy to use such as Google Hangout, Zoom and many more. All your staff must have is a device (phone or computer), internet and audio. They don’t even have turn of the video if they don’t want to. If the internet is not dial up the quality should be good unless of course everyone in the world is on at the same time.
· Put policies in place and stick to them. Policies for cleaning workspaces, staying six feet away from each other at work always, travel restrictions both personal and for business, coronavirus contact reporting requirements, and whatever else comes up between now and the time we get through this.
· SHRM.org has a Communicable Diseases page on their site which is a hub for all Coronavirus Issues at Work. Currently it is open for non-members. Feel free to use it!
· Above all take care of yourself!