How to Protect Your Employees During the COVID-19 Crisis
If you’re wondering how to overcome an economic crisis and preserve your workforce for the future, keep reading. We’ve collected our best tips for managing employees during the COVID-19 crisis.
For the majority of businesses, the coronavirus outbreak has brought huge disruption, financial concerns and lots of stress. Many workers are in danger of losing their jobs – or already have. So, how can you protect your employees and make sure you still have a profitable business when we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis?
Read on to find out our top six tips for protecting your employees.
6 tips to protect your employees during the COVID-19 crisis
1. Keep workspaces clean
Let’s start with the most obvious point: disinfect your workspaces regularly.
Most businesses are now operating remotely, but if your premises are still open, you can reduce the chances of infection by carrying out frequent ‘deep cleans’. This still applies even if you don’t welcome customers onto your site. Whether you choose to hire a professional cleaning firm or just do the job yourself, you’ll need to wipe down all the surfaces your team and any visitors come into contact with several times a day.
Your employees also play a part in reducing the risk of contamination. Encourage them to wash their hands for 20 seconds throughout the day and to carry a tissue or handkerchief to catch any coughs or sneezes.
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2. Keep an eye on employees for symptoms
If your workers display symptoms of coronavirus, they should be sent home immediately. Look out for employees with a new, continuous cough or high temperature, but also make sure they’re aware of some of the lesser-known indicators. Some COVID-19 patients have experienced runny noses, sore throats, nasal congestion, aches and pains and even diarrhoea. Others lose their sense of smell or taste, or just feel rundown.
By educating your employees about the wide-ranging coronavirus symptoms, you increase the chances of them noticing the signs and making the decision to stay at home if they become infected.
3. Create a crisis management plan
You can help your employees by guiding your business through this crisis smoothly. You may have already put a coronavirus strategy in place, but if you haven’t, consider creating an action plan to help you minimise damage during the COVID-19 crisis. You should think about steps you can take to protect your supply chain, productivity, cashflow, customer engagement and, of course, workforce.
If you’re wondering how to manage a business through a crisis, don’t worry. Our article, Create a Crisis Management Plan for your Business… Now! will tell you everything you need to know.
Once you’ve done this, you may want to think about crafting a contingency plan to weather any storms in the future. This may not be your biggest priority right now, but it’s a good idea to keep it on the ‘to do’ list. This way, you and your staff will be prepared to tackle any crisis yet to come. Our Create A Crisis Contingency Plan For Your Business article will tell you how to do it.
4. Keep everyone informed
To do this, you’ll need to stay up to date on the latest headlines, so make sure you watch television broadcasts or check online news sites regularly. Once you know what’s going on, you’ll need to work out how this will affect your business, and what changes you can make to mitigate damage.
Whenever you make a decision that will impact your workers, make sure they’re aware of it. Not only will this help them fulfil their jobs better on a day-to-day basis, but it’ll also reassure them that their employer is doing everything they can to protect them.
These days, there’s no excuse not to keep your workforce in the loop. You can send an email, phone them up or even launch a daily video call – the options are endless. Check out our article on the best business technology platforms to keep in touch with employees from home.
5. Take advantage of government support
The government has put a number of measures in place to help businesses survive the COVID-19 crisis and protect their employees. Make sure you’re putting yourself in the best possible position by taking advantage of this support if you can. This includes granting your employees statutory sick pay and applying for a business grant if you need it.
If you’d like to find out more, here's everything the UK government is doing to support businesses through the COVID-19 crisis.
6. Consider introducing flexible leave options
If you’ve got less work coming into the business and find you’re struggling to keep on top of your finances, you may need to think about flexible leave options. Reducing your employees’ working hours is one way of limiting the amount of money you put towards wages without furloughing workers or letting them go.
However, some of your employees may be reluctant to cut down their hours if they would find it difficult to get by on a reduced salary. For this reason, you might need to talk to your employees individually. If you are able to convince several staff members to take flexible unpaid leave, you may be able to save the whole team.
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Examples of franchises protecting their employees
Every business is different, and there may be other steps you can take to protect your employees. For inspiration, take a look at the three companies below and how they were able to support their workers.
Mother Nature Science
This children’s franchise created an action plan to safeguard its workforce and reassure its customers. The strategies included limiting children on holiday camps to 20, running staff hygiene training schemes and working with School Venue Partner contacts to keep abreast of local news.
Bar franchise Veeno pledged to keep its entire workforce in employment and continue to pay them, even though it had closed all its sites. In doing so, the franchise proved it put the needs of its employees first.
Hallows Care was able to carry on attracting investors to expand the business by offering a lower franchise fee to five new franchisees. This helped the entrepreneurs get their home care branches up and running for a reduced price and reach their break-even point sooner during a turbulent economic period.
Check out our bank of informative articles about setting up and running a successful business in the franchising world.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©
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