I am sure you are overrun with advice on how to manage your employees during these uncertain times. I wanted to give you some practical advice. I also have a homeworking policy template which is free of charge if you need it – please contact me.
- Firstly, and most importantly, communicate with your staff – daily if you can, even if it’s just to say there’s no update.
- Consider who the key people are in your organisation and how you would operate if they were to be absence for a prolonged period (e.g. payroll, finance etc). Who else can you train to carry out key tasks in the short-term?
- For larger companies, think about assigning one or two people in your organisation to be the main point of contact so that the same message goes out to everyone.
- For those jobs that can be worked from home, ensure that everything is in place to allow that to happen, even at short notice. Ask those with equipment to take laptops etc home each evening so that if the situation changes quickly, they have what they need to do their job. MyWork Hive offer some really good practical advice for moving to home working in a hurry and managing remote teams https://www.myworkhive.com/2020/02/25/how-to-move-your-team-to-work-from-home/.
- If your teams are working remotely, please do keep in regular contact (see point 1!), if you’re dealing with large numbers of people, split them into teams (if they’re not already in teams) to ensure that everyone is in contact with someone daily. Declining mental health is a real risk in situations were people are isolated.
- Consider cancelling all business travel – most meetings can be done via the phone or video call.
- Re-share and reiterate your GDPR and Data Protection policies – remind employees that it also applies when working remotely and from home.
- If you don’t already have video conferencing in place, set it up now so that you are ready to go – Zoom and Microsoft teams are great systems.
- Pay –
- SSP is payable for those self-isolating. The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations 2020 came into force on 13th March 2020. The Day 1 rule for SSP (rather than Day 4) has NOT be put in place yet – we’re waiting for guidance on that.
- If an employee is not sick but the employer tells them not to come to work, they should get their usual pay.
- If the employee takes time off to care for someone else e.g. a child at home from school, the time is usually unpaid under Time off for Dependants. The time off must be ‘reasonable’ i.e. usually long enough to arrange alternative childcare. However you may wish to consider being flexible on this.
- Check your contracts for lay off clauses, in case you need them.
- Consider the annual leave situation – offer employees the option to take annual leave if they need it. Even if it means bringing leave forward from next year’s allowance.
- Ensure all your staff details are up to date in case you need to contact them. A cloud-based HR system is great for this as you have access to the details wherever you are and can contact people en masse – contact me if you don’t have the system I provide and I can get you set up immediately.
- If you have a lot of visitors to your site/s (e.g. deliveries) then consider installing a Portaloo with handwashing facilities so that drivers don’t have to come onto site.
- I am sure that you have already considered this, additional handwashing facilities may be necessary – check supplies regularly and display posters to remind staff to wash hands
- Look after your employee’s health – direct them to the https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ To check symptoms. If your employees are still working from your premises, help managers to understand how to recognise symptoms so that they can support anyone who is unwell. Sending them home is essential if they have any of the symptoms described by NHS 111.
The ACAS website also has some really good advice should you need it. https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus
Feel free to give me a call if you need further support. Stay safe!