Combating Corona Virus: The Small Business Edition
The rapid outbreak of the novel coronavirus has become significant business challenge. Some businesses are finding it difficult to perform their contractual obligations despite their best intentions.
The coverage of COVID-19 reached new heights in late February as the United States prepared for spread inside its borders. Indicating the increasing pace, coverage in the past week comprised 29% of coverage about coronavirus since January 1st.
There are way too many questions right now about the coronavirus. With the increasing coverage through various media, there are many misconceptions about it. Standard recommendations by WHO, to prevent the spread of infection include, regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
A crisis can happen fast, and you need to be ready when it does. The industries that may be particularly affected because of Coronavirus include events, tourism, manufacturing, logistics, retail and F&B. Your business might soon face similar difficulties in terms of how to comply with its contracts and dealing with business partners who are unable to perform.
This situation has created panic across the global workforce. Engagedly’s expert panel, has come up with a few precautions for you as an HR, to guide you through the upcoming crisis, as it happens.
One of the most common issues during pandemics and natural disasters is that unlike MNCs, smaller businesses don’t have disaster management guidelines. Which is why it is important to communicate clearly to the employees about the current crisis. It is also important for employers to come up with an action plan for situations where this outbreak becomes more widespread and more serious.
Public health experts are recommending that companies encourage employees to work from home to prevent the potentially deadly coronavirus from spreading around offices, public transit and elsewhere. Many firms, like Apple, Microsoft and Google, are following that advice.
It is important to analyze if your infrastructure allows your employees to telecommunicate and work from home. Will you implement special leave policies to prevent employees from infecting others in the workplace? You don’t need answers to all these questions yet but you should start to anticipate what those questions may be.
Communicate clearly to your employees about the coronavirus crisis. Pull together information pertaining to the coronavirus to create a ready-to-refer instructional guide for employees that not only educates them about the viral infection, but also enlists ways to avoid it. Gather this information from credible and verified sources like statements issued by the government or the scientists researching the virus. Use various channels of communications available to send the information across to your employees.
Flexible Working Plan
With the growing threat of coronavirus hitting the United States, the prospect of having to work from home is increasing and it is disrupting normal work patterns, modes of communication, and team dynamics. The current coronavirus outbreak could force a mass-adoption moment. Over the past week, tech and media titans including Microsoft, Google and Twitter have all provided the option of remote work to thousands of employees.
The increasing uncertainty and anxiety about the personal dangers from the epidemic is said to increase the number of employees opting to work from home.
With this increasing need for working from home, the need to foster a strong culture at the workplace has also increased. Working from homes enables most employees to spend less time commuting to their office and dedicate more time to completing their work.
Though many employees are comfortable with remote working, not working in a traditional work environment brings its own set of challenges. One of the major challenges that managers face with remote employees is the challenge of engaging a team that works mostly outside the office. This is where Engagedly can help you. Here are a few benefits of using a talent management/ employee engagement software during this time of crisis, to engage your remote employees.
The need for feeling connected with traditional workforce is an important thing to focus on when it comes to remote working. Using latest tools like Slack, Dropbox, Trello etc., help your employees communicate, collaborate and stay connected with each other.
Apps like GoogleHangouts and Zoom are designed to initiate participation and to make meetings more interactive and inclusive. Using these kinds of tools on a regular basis can help your remote employees feel connected and stay engaged. Engagedly also allows you to easily handle various aspects of HR by automating goal setting, tracking, performance reviews etc.
Communication is very important when working with remote workers. It is a known fact that managers treat their traditional workers differently from their remote employees. Being left out is one of the biggest fears of a remote employee. Sometimes, managers forget to communicate important information with remote employees that they might have shared spontaneously with the traditional employees. This might lead to disengagement in remote employees. To avoid this, make conscious effort to communicate with your remote workers.
Send out weekly updates email to them so that they do not miss out on important announcements and updates at the workplace.
With Engagedly, you can encourage remote employees to communicate with everyone else using the social feature that allows employees to share posts, share ideas, request for help and share knowledge. Engagedly allows you to create interest groups and share documents and other material with colleagues. Encouraging employees to express themselves and interact socially makes your workplace a communication-friendly space and helps employees remain engaged.
Checking-in on employees frequently and giving them feedback on a regular basis is a good practice both for remote as well as traditional employees. When you do not check in on their work, remote employees tend to become disengaged. Checking-in on their work frequently and providing remote workers feedback and suggestions to improve their work, help them understand clearly what is expected of them.
Create this culture of feedback using one of the various awesome feedback tools available in the online market. This helps you stay connected to them and keep track of their work.
Encourage your virtual employees to bond with their team members through online collaboration. Try to get all your team members together in person at least once in an year. Use collaborative platforms to help your remote employees communicate and collaborate with each other. These apps allow you employees to post updates, invite each other for events, share knowledge, ask for help etc. so that the office-bound employees and remote employees get an opportunity to collaborate.
Rohia is an HR expert and an inbound marketing specialist at Engagedly, a performance management software. Rohia has worked in the digital marketing industry for over 6 years, gaining experience in content marketing, SEO and monitoring...