The long-term success of your business could depend on how well you manage the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on your employees. If you run a restaurant or bar, you could already have been told to close. You might not even have a business continuity plan.
Will you carry on paying your workers or announce layoffs?
If you decide to continue paying your people, how long can you afford the expense?
Workers in manufacturing companies could stay away if they fall sick. The ones that report for work will look to you for guidance and advice.
Are their jobs secure?
If the coronavirus affects them or their family, will you help them financially?
The coronavirus outbreak has grown exponentially all across the globe, but everyone is taking the needed precautions. And even though the number of coronavirus cases is mushrooming, the U.S. is doing everything in its power to control it.
In this post, we’ll discuss the employee-related steps you could take to protect your business from the effects of coronavirus.
How to Help Your Employees: Quick Tips
Allow sick employees to stay home
Let employees work-from-home if your industry allows them to
If your employees can’t work from home, try to stagger shifts so there’s less risk of infection
Keep an open line of communication with your employees
Inform them on the cleaning and disinfecting you’re doing
Create COVID-etiquette for your business to let employees know how to act, i.e. using a facemask, washing their hands, etc.
Make sure you follow CDC guidelines and recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID, know what to do if an employee is suspected to be sick, and cleaning the workplace.
Keep Up-to-Date with your State’s Regulations
It’s crucial that you know and understand regulations, mask mandates, and restrictions in your locality. This will allow you to properly plan on what you can do right now, what you should prepare for, and how all of this affects your employees.
The NY Times created an incredible interactive map with all the latest updates on each state so that you can keep informed.
Your local government will also offer more specific guidelines on what you can do.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Keeping your employees informed about significant developments is crucial. If you don’t talk to your people, they could fall prey to rumors. As a result, there could be a drop in productivity and morale.
But… what should you tell your employees, and what you shouldn’t?
Should you tell them about your business continuity plan?
That depends on your situation, but you must be as frank as possible. Don’t make the mistake of lying. If there’s something you can’t share, for whatever reasons, tell your workers that you’ll let them know at the correct time.
Here are a few tips that you could use:
- Anticipate the questions they could ask you and have some answers ready
- Stay in touch with your employees, consider visiting the shop floor more often
- Develop a communication plan and try and keep your people motivated
Focus on How You Can Help Your Employees
Recent studies reveal the importance of taking care of the welfare of your employees in a crisis. The traditional approach focuses on maintaining productivity and ensuring that the company’s systems and procedures continue to work efficiently. But injecting optimism into your team members and keeping their spirits high is equally, if not more, important.
How are some of America’s biggest companies responding to the coronavirus crisis?
- Walmart has allowed its hourly workers worried about coronavirus to stay at home “without penalty.”
- Starbucks is offering free therapy to its employees.
- Apple has closed all its stores outside China. Hourly workers will continue to be paid.
How Will the H.R. 6021 Bill Affect You?
Currently, many U.S. companies don’t provide paid sick leave to their employees. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6021, which was passed recently, will change that.
This legislation will give employees a package of emergency leave and other benefits. The new law includes provisions providing employees with:
- Free coronavirus testing
- Doctor’s fees and emergency room visits
- Food assistance
- Paid sick leave
- Unemployment insurance
This law could have financial implications for small business owners, although some tax credits will be available. The new law applies to businesses with fewer than 500 employees. But if you have less than 50 workers, you could be allowed to opt-out.
Make the time to understand how the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6021 could affect you.
Develop a Business Continuity Plan
What will you do if several employees get sick? You can’t afford to let work suffer. If customers are turned away because your staff is absent, it could lead to long-term repercussions.
The Red Cross’s health chief, Emanuele Capobianco, advises business owners to identify the next person for each critical position in their firms. That’s not all. You must also know who will step into the shoes of the replacement if the need arises.
Your business continuity plan must also include preventive measures. Implement basic precautions like ensuring that your employees wash their hands regularly. Additionally, avoid overcrowding at work.
Control Employee Costs
In a recession, one of your primary goals could be to reduce employee costs. There are several ways in which you can do this.
If you run a manufacturing company, for example, you could think about reducing the number of shifts from three to two or even one. In any case, you may be grappling with the problem of finding buyers for your products. Reducing the number of shifts will help you cut production.
Consider switching over to part-time workers for some of your tasks. This will give you the flexibility to increase or decrease your staff as demand for your products and services changes.
It’s estimated that there are 42 million freelancers or “contingent workers” in the U.S. See if you can fill any vacancies with freelancers.
Finally, if you have to close down temporarily and you can’t pay your employees, you might have to furlough them. If you are forced by the situation to do this, make sure you tell your employees tactfully. Assure them that you will keep them updated, that way they’ll know you care about them and that they will come back to work as soon as possible.
The Bottom Line
The coronavirus outbreak could likely have a significant impact on your business. You could have to tackle the issue of sick workers and additional employee costs. You must take preemptive action as soon as you can.
Keep the communication channels with your employees open and develop or revisit your business continuity plan. In addition to this, think about ways to reduce employee costs. If you are adequately prepared, you can lessen the blow that a recession can deliver.
At Camino Financial, we’re keen to help small businesses manage the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. We also strive to provide entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to manage their companies effectively and profitably.
If you need capital, we can provide you with a small business loan within two days. Our motto is, “No business left behind”—we’ll do our best to provide you with the capital you need to ride out the crisis.