The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has released a guidance for employers to help them protect employees and provide business continuity for their organization. All employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from the Coronavirus to ensure business continuity.
As with all illnesses, employees diagnosed with Coronavirus should stay home and away from the workplace. While at the workplace or home, it is important to use cough and sneeze etiquette. Encourage employees to frequently clean hands with soap and water, and routinely clean commonly touched surfaces.
The guidance is based on the latest information from the CDC and offers this advice in advance of diagnosed cases:
Is Flex Working an Option?
Review human resources policies. Explore whether you can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours.
Remind employees that if they become sick, they should telework instead of coming into the workplace until symptoms are completely resolved.
Create an Employee Communications Plan
Establish a process to communicate the latest Coronavirus information to employees and business partners. In addition, anticipate employee fear, anxiety, rumors, and misinformation, and plan communications accordingly.
Plan for Spikes in Absenteeism
Determine how you will operate if absenteeism spikes from increases in sick employees or those who stay home to care for sick family members.
Do you operate in areas where schools are closed? Some employees might request to work from home if possible to watch or home school their children. Be prepared for disruptions during virtual meetings, because children and family members might not realize employees are on a call.
Coordinate with State and Local Health Officials
Coordinate with state and local health officials. Timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses in each location where your operations reside. The intensity of an outbreak may differ according to geographic location. Local health officials will be issuing guidance specific to their communities.
Employers should learn about plans in place in each community where they have a business by contacting their local public health department.
Create a Business Continuity Plan
Change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations. You might need to identify alternative suppliers or prioritize customers. Consider digital meetings if possible.