Communication during this time is incredibly important. Remain available to and transparent with your employees. Have conversations with employees about their concerns. Some employees may be at higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions. Your team’s health is of the utmost importance, so get your employees in on your COVID-19 planning strategy for reopening. Here are a few ways you can work as a team to reopen your business safely.
- Provide education and training materials in an easy to understand format and in the appropriate languages and literacy level for all employees, like fact sheets and posters
- Develop other flexible policies for scheduling and telework (if feasible) and create leave policies to allow employees to stay home to care for sick family members or care for children if schools and childcare close.
- Actively encourage sick employees to stay home. Develop policies that encourage sick employees to stay at home without fear of reprisal, and ensure employees are aware of these policies.
- Educate workers performing cleaning, laundry, and trash pick-up to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19.
- Develop policies for worker protection and provide training to all cleaning staff on-site prior to providing cleaning tasks.
- Talk with companies that provide your business with the contract or temporary employees about their plans.
- Discuss the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive “emergency sick leave” policies.
- Plan to implement practices to minimize face-to-face contact between employees if social distancing is recommended by your state or local health department. Actively encourage flexible work arrangements such as teleworking or staggered shifts.
- The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger. Encourage employees to take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting. Make sure employees are aware of the mental health services your company provides, such as EAPs. Encourage mindfulness, meditation, and other healthy activities for your team. If an employee asks for help regarding their mental health, ask them to reach out to a healthcare provider, provide information about the local NAMI services, and provide the Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990.