The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for both employers and employees. As both an HR professional and a nurse, I know firsthand how important it is to take special considerations when supporting our employees, both now and as the economy reopens. The future is still unknown, but what we do know is that our hard-working employees will need flexibility and support as we navigate the path forward. Doing right by your employees will help everybody get through this together and will help you nurse your employees back from the crisis of COVID-19.
During the COVID era, a lot of the tools and strategies we’ve developed for ourselves and our employees have made day-to-day work life easier and more productive. Some of the things we have adopted to get ourselves through these unprecedented times should stay with us as employers move their businesses forward.
If your employees can work from home…
If your business has the ability to have employees work from home productively, you should continue to do so with at least 50% of your staff. This will help your employees stay safe and healthy and will help you maintain a strong and solid workforce. Employees will feel cared for and respected having the ability to work in an environment that is safe and secure. This also allows employees who are physically at work to continue appropriate social distancing, and to effectively clean and sanitize your workspaces as your nurse them back from COVID-19 and this difficult time.
Be flexible with hours…
Your employees need flexibility now more than ever. Many people are dealing with trying to balance parenting, motivating their children to keep up with their distance learning, checking in on friends and family who are more at risk, all in addition to their own work responsibilities. It is a challenging situation. Allowing your employees flexibility with their work hours and days is key to maintaining a happy workforce and will grow loyalty in the long run.
If possible, allow your employees to split their hours (e.g. 4 hours in the morning, break mid-day, 4 hours in the evening) so they can take some time during the day to focus on their children, or anything else they need to take care of. If that doesn’t work logistically, allow employees to take some time off during the week and make up those hours on the weekends when their children aren’t “in school.” These unique challenges require flexibility for your employees, not just for your business!
Health and wellness benefits…
It’s always been important to encourage each other to stay healthy and to promote general wellness among your employees. As a nurse, employee health and wellness has resonated strongly with me. This concept, however, has taken on new meaning and become even more essential in recent months. Your workplace gym memberships, office lunchtime walks, and wellness check incentives may feel like a thing of the past right now, but they will be more important than ever as we start getting back to normal.
Right now, there are other ways to encourage your employees to make their health a priority. Some companies have started subsidizing Pelotons, organizing Fitbit challenges, and sending around healthy recipe email chains among employees. Encouraging your employees to stay healthy is a good way to let them know that you care and want to support them, even from a distance.
We know employees are getting restless and feeling stressed. We are here to help with HR issues during this overwhelming time. If you want to learn more about doing right by your employees, please ask us your HR question! No question is too small and if we don’t have the answer, we’ll point you towards someone who does.