COVID-19: Guidance for employers

We are living in extraordinary times. Fortunately, it is moments of crisis like this that brings out our ability to adapt and place the health and wellbeing of the community above all else. As we navigate our way through these times together we enter a new way of living, working and communicating. It is important to provide clear advice and guidance to employees that have been affected to ensure they are stable and safe under the ever changing circumstances. Below are four tips to help see you through work arrangements regarding COVID-19. 

1. Comply with national and state public health directions

As an employer or business, it is your responsibility to manage the risk of COVID-19 to workers and others in the work environment. In consultation with staff, all workplaces must evaluate potential risks and look for ways to minimise the spread of the virus. 

At this time, most workplaces have ceased all non-essential work that involves close personal contact (less than 1.5 metres). Other ways to modify the workplace include barriers between workspaces or seated areas and altering shifts and rosters to reduce a congestion of people. Of course, home is the safest place to be and actively supporting flexible working arrangements including working from home is ideal. 

2. Provide flexible working arrangements

Working from home is a concept that has been applied long before the impact of a pandemic. Thanks to online video communications, file sharing and other collaborative platforms, remote working is looking more and more like a logical alternative to spending hours at the office. 

However, whether working from home is a practical measure for your business will depend on the specifics of the employee’s role and the resources available to enable them to work remotely. In some circumstances, working from home may not be practical or even possible. It is worth having a chat with your workers to see what can be achieved remotely or if equipment needs to be transported to their home office. 

Offering flexibility and entrusting your workers with this solution will benefit your workplace, those who inhabit it and by extension, the community. In summary, if an employee can work from home, they most certainly should

3. Boost morale

It is important to appreciate that every employee is worrying about their personal situation and what the future will hold, according to Rudy Crous, Corporate Psychologist and CEO of Shortlyster. To ease the pressure off your staff, provide them with the means to be as effective and motivated as possible. This includes:

  • Set realistic work goals grounded with clear communication.
  • Give employees options to help with their personal life to keep them engaged with their work.
  • If using virtual environments, allow coworkers to have downtime and socials chats to develop relationship building and bonding.
  • Offer mental health services such as the government’s mental healthcare plan initiative.
  • Don’t pretend that a global pandemic doesn’t exist; change and adapt quickly, don’t keep doing the same thing hoping things will change.

4. Provide updates

There’s nothing worse than the feeling of “being kept in the dark”. The clearer the information on what to do and the changes that are going to be made, the less confusion within the workplace. Crous of Shortlyster recommends to be honest and open about what is going on, but don’t react to unknowns. Deal with what you have in front of you by setting short term goals. Providing your staff with clear and consistent updates can result in feedback to develop strategic plans and unearth hidden opportunities. 

If you are seeking advice during these uncertain times, have a chat with our experienced HR professionals here.


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