You knew that I would have to do this at some point. But before you close this tab on your browser, I hope you read on because I’ve put together something a little different when it comes to handling COVID-19 (also known as the coronavirus).
I don’t want to spend a lot of time sharing articles about outbreaks, sanitizers, and masks. You probably already have those sites bookmarked. If you don’t, here’s a couple to get you started.
A Facebook friend shared this article from Juliana Grant, a medical epidemiologist with almost 20 years of experience in public health. It’s an email she wrote to family and friends about the coronavirus and later decided to share it on her blog. I like her ability to convey very serious information in a casual writing style.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extensive information on the virus including how it spreads, risk assessments, and travel information.
This article from Harvard Business Review answers “8 Questions Employers Should Ask about Coronavirus”.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has a FAQ about the coronavirus, including information about the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), workers’ compensation, and the Americans with Disabilities Act ADA).
And this last one might sound a bit unconventional, but The Disney Food Blog published a nice read about visiting the theme parks. I know public events are a concern right now, so this article might provide a few insights.
The information I wanted to share with you today has to do with some of the workplace challenges business leaders are facing as a result of the coronavirus. For example, employees might be requesting flexible work. I published an article last year about the different types of flexible work options that are available for caregivers, but it might work under these circumstances as well.
Many organizations are allowing employees to work from home. And that’s terrific! But working from home isn’t the same as working in an office. And employees might need some guidance on how to work from home successfully.
Managers also need some guidance on managing a virtual workforce. It’s certainly not impossible to do but it is different. Encourage managers to find time to create an engaging moment for an employee. It will strengthen the relationship and let employees know that the company cares about them.
I’d like to think that everyone understands that organizations are simply reacting to the information they have available. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make our employees feel like we have a plan in place to disseminate information and options when it comes to getting the work done.
One last thing, if your organization doesn’t have any kind of emergency plan in place, use this as an opportunity to get one. I’m watching the news – just like you are – and many people are referencing the 2009 H1N1 virus (remember that one?!) My point is this, at some point in the future, there will be another situation. We just don’t know what it will be called and when it will happen. Find time to do a debrief and put a plan together for the future. I honestly hope you never have to use it. Our employees right now are looking for our leadership. They want to know that we can handle the unexpected. They want answers to their questions. While we might not know what’s happening with the virus, we do know how to run the business.12