We are working in strange times right now. A lot of our content on the WorkBright blog has focused on remote workers, but we know that only a portion of employees can work from home right now. Many employees are still going into work because they do work that is deemed essential. We wanted to share some tips for employers on how to best support their essential workers right now. What are you doing to help your team?
Let People Who Can Work From Home Do It
Chances are, some of your workers might have the ability to do their work from home. Your entire staff might not be able to work from home, but letting anyone who can work from home do so limits the amount of exposure all of your employees get. Someone who can work from home may be carrying the virus without knowing it, or vice versa. Limiting the number of people in your building also gives your essential workers who can’t work from home more space to work.
Set Up Workspaces For Social Distancing
Many companies aren’t set up for social distancing typically, especially if you work in a factory. Take some time to set up workspaces for social distancing. Creating a new set up may take some clever thinking, but it will make everyone feel safer and impact everyone’s morale during this trying time.
Provide Proper Equipment (Hand Sanitizer/Soap, Masks, Etc.)
Getting proper equipment like hand sanitizer and masks is not easy for individual employees right now. Companies may have the upper hand when it comes to acquiring these items due to connections with the right suppliers. Make sure you are doing what you can to provide proper protective equipment to your employees so that they can work with confidence.
Create Reasonable Sick Leave Policies
Amazon has recently come under fire because of their sick leave policies amid all that is happening with COVID-19. One of the things people have scrutinized Amazon over was the fact that their policy used to hinge on receiving a positive COVID-19 test. In many places across the country and the world, getting your hands on a COVID-19 test is next to impossible. There aren’t enough tests. We believe that employers need to be careful about requiring proof for sick and funeral leave. In an ideal world, everyone who wants access to a COVID-19 test could get one, but we don’t currently live in that world.
Make Cleaning A Regular Part Of Your Workday
Preferably regular cleaning was already a part of your daily routine at work. We should be taking hygiene seriously and making sure we are taking care of any places at work that humans come in contact with. Make sure that your employees are taking their time each day to clean and disinfect the areas where they work. Make sure that other areas that might not see as much human interaction are also getting cleaned regularly.
Cater Food, Coffee, And Other Items When Possible
Essential workers are putting a lot on the line right now. Those essential workers need food and energy to get through the day. If you want to support essential workers, cater items for your team using company funds or partner with community organizations to get those items to your employees. Whether you cater yourself or partner with local organizations, I am sure your employees will be grateful for the extra goodies that will help them get through the day.
Provide Hazard Pay For Essential Workers
While many essential employees enjoy their job, it’s still not easy for them or their families. Hazard pay will give your employees more incentive to do the work they do, especially if they usually don’t make much money. Essential employees aren’t always paid well. Many essential workers like grocery store clerks and fast food employees are deemed essential, but many are paid minimum wage. If you want to show your employees how much you care, you should step up and provide more pay where you can.
Don’t Fight Unemployment If You Need To Let People Go
Last but not least, if you need to let any employees go, you shouldn’t fight their unemployment claim. Employees are going through a lot as it is, and they don’t need any employers getting in the way of their unemployment benefits. Unemployment is getting slammed right now, which means that it’s taking employees weeks to gain access to the benefits they need to survive. If you fight their claims, that means that it will take them even longer to get paid. The best thing you can do right now is step aside and let employees get the benefits they deserve.
Conclusion: Support Essential Workers
Being an essential worker is tough right now. Many people are on the frontlines of helping fight COVID-19, even though they didn’t plan to be. As an employer, you can step up and provide a healthy place for your employees to work. Please take your responsibility seriously and support your employees when you can.