The pandemic has changed the structure of the modern workforce, breaking it into two categories:
- The ones who work remotely
- The ones who still come to the office
Although remote work is recommended in the current health crisis, not everyone has the liberty to do so. Some employees do not have good internet connection and gadgets or their work requires their physical appearance.
Working on-site during the COVID-19 health crisis isn’t just stressful for the employees; HR managers have their hands full, too. So how can you effectively manage the team? How can you engage with them? Should you enroll in a leadership class to improve your crisis management?
To improve your employee’s on-site experience (and improve their productivity along the way), consider the following strategies:
Keep Them Safe
Businesses with employees working in the office should screen everyone before they enter the premises. Senior and HR managers should continue encouraging employees to stay at home. In line with this, consider amending policies regarding sick days so employees will not be fearful of losing their pay when they call in sick.
Also, limit the number of on-site teams. Reduce the team to a few people as much as possible. Doing so will open more private spaces. Strengthen your health measures in the office by enforcing strict hygiene rules.
Maintain Clear and Regular Communication
Views on the virus vary from one employee to another. Some may disregard the virus and not pay attention to it; others will take it seriously. Regardless of their beliefs, managers must maintain clear and regular communication with on-site employees.
Show your commitment to safety by sharing fact-based health information using webinars or via the company’s internal employee portal. Use these platforms to educate the team with proper courses of action should they experience symptoms of COVID-19.
Also, get feedback from your employees. Ask them what it’s like coming into the office. What methods are working for them? What policies need improvement? What makes them feel safe? Use feedback to drive employee investment decisions and to improve how you manage their safety on-site.
Check-in with your team regularly. Remember: candid contact has become more important during these trying times. This isn’t the time to put off your quick check-ins or one-on-one meetings. When at all doable, schedule meetings with the team.
In terms of the conversation, make sure the talk is beyond work. But you should still stay within legally compliant topics.
Check their insight for the following:
- If they are well-supported by the management, the senior leadership, and their peers. Do they feel like the company is responsive and transparent with them?
- Does the company meet their working needs? Make sure they have all the hardware, supplies, and physical files they need.
- How are they doing on a personal level? Is there anything in their personal lives (which they feel comfortable in sharing) hindering them from performing?
- Are they aware of the behavioral healthcare services available?
During the conversation, refrain from asking their private health information. This can create legal liabilities if the information was not given voluntarily. Just keep up the “water cooler” chat, aka casual conversations that instill a sense of normalcy for employees.
Design Employee Support Systems
Some employees are juggling other roles. You might have workers who are parents, too. With the schools closed, these employees are dealing with their kids while struggling to make a living.
HR managers can offer support in numerous ways, whether it’s by providing free on-site lunches or dividing the workdays of the teams. Also, permit high-risk employees — such as employees older than 65, pregnant employees, or employees with other medical conditions — to take paid sick leaves up to 45 days, if necessary.
Reward Your Employees
Employees need support now more than ever.
Pay cuts seem to be a part of the new norm. To reduce the number of the employee receiving cuts to their pay, many high-level professionals and executives are taking the cut to support their teams. If this is possible for your company, you may do the same.
You can also show recognition by acknowledging employees for their hard work. A simple thank you from the managers and policymakers assures employees that they are doing a good job. If it’s possible, reward them with food vouchers, groceries or other necessities.
The pandemic calls for a stable partnership between employers and their subordinates. As the HR manager, employees value your support more than ever. Help employees work during these trying times by providing the support that they need.