If you manage employees, you know that any disruption can make employees unhappy. Unhappy and chaotic employee behavior reduces productivity too. So, knowing how to face a pandemic (like Coronavirus) in the workplace can keep things moving.
Those of us who work together in a physical space interact. And, bugs, like the cold and flu just seem to love it! Unfortunately, scares like the Coronavirus, swine flu, and Zika complicate social interactions.
Even when we work online, with little contact, pandemic threats scare and distract employees. Here are some tips on how to face a pandemic (like Coronavirus in the workplace.
Keep Employees Informed
Much of the chaos surrounding pandemic scares is the result of poor communication. Keep in touch with employees, and keep them posted. Answer their questions before they become fodder for rumors. Total Wellness suggests, ...
Remind them what your sick-day policies are. Educate them on how to stay healthy and stop the spread of germs. Let them know who is covering which tasks while people are gone.
Informing your employees can help minimize doubts and avoid delays in information. When employees have the correct answers to questions, they won't speculate as much.
Becky Squiers on Total Wellness
Encourage Employees to Communicate
When employees communicate, problems get solved. Encourage your employees to communicate factual information from reliable sources. Also, remind them that they have sick day priveledges.
And, let them know that your administration prefers them to miss a few days. One employee missing two or three days beats a whole team out because someone wouldn't stay home. Also, remind them that their well-being and productivity benefits from rest and recovery.
Encourage them to share news about illnesses and even symptoms among their community members. Sometimes, a heads up can keep coworkers alert to catching symptoms before a sickness becomes contagious.
Always Have a Plan B ... and Maybe a C
Being prepared in the workplace makes good management practice. When setting up or redesigning policies and procedures, cross-train employees. Help employees understand who fills in for who, and delegate as needed.
What if you delegate work to an employee and both she and the person she's covering get sick? That's where plan C comes in. Sometimes business plans do not include plan C. That's when managers and employees must work proactively, as a team.
If the Coronavirus were to hit your community and workplace, what would keep your team going? What would keep your cash flow alive? What would help conserve your assets?
You should always know, every day, even when there is no pandemic, what tasks keep your business alive. The most critical of those tasks are high priority. And, they must be number one in your survival and recovery plan.
Mandate Quaranteen for the Safety of All
Remind your staff that good employees protect themselves and coworkers from harm. Actively encourage employees to take sick leave.
If they won't, perhaps you can suggest that they work from home. Get together with your HR team to determine what you can do to keep your team safe.
It's prudent to inform employees how to help avoid the spread of disease. While it may seem like everyone should already know these things, it might be necessary to remind employees:
Avoid handshakes and other interpersonal contact.
Avoid touching your face, mouth, nose, and eyes.
Sanitize your hands frequently.
Detain sneezes with a facial tissue or, minimally, the inside of your own arm.
Keep shared equipment disinfected.
Get your vaccines as prescribed.
How To Face A Pandemic (like Coronavirus) in the Workplace
Do you need to know how to face a pandemic (like Coronavirus) in the workplace now? Or are you planning ahead. Either way, communication, flexibility, and rules can help your team through the panic.