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Heightened concerns about the spread of Coronavirus are affecting the work place.

Some businesses are temporally closing in the interim, while others are limiting hours of operation. More people are working remotely as a means of “social distancing” for fear of contracting the virus or as a measure to stop its spread. Gatherings of 10 people or more are being banned.

Stores can’t keep up with a rampant demand for necessities, such as toilet paper and food. Cleaning supplies are equally in short supply. Restaurants across the U.S. are limiting sit-in service but are still offering take-out or delivery options in many cases.

Cities and countries worldwide are implementing a full lockdown. Travel bans are in place.

Fear and uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is high.

So how do businesses cope, especially when completely halting operations isn’t an option for many organizations? The answer is businesses are dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic as best they can.

However, it is putting human resources professionals and policies to the test. Syndeo, an outsourced HR provider, can help.

We’ve put together some tips to assist Kansas businesses with knowing what to do and what not to do as it pertains to the Coronavirus.

Do these things

  • Encourage employees to stay home when they are ill or don’t feel well to reduce the spread of sickness.
  • Allow work-from-home and flexible working arrangements.
  • Use telephone and videoconferencing instead of face-to-face meetings when possible.
  • Keep your offices clean and hygienic by following universal sanitation and disease prevention guidelines.
  • Update travel, sick leave and telecommuting policies as needed and ensure they are well communicated with employees.
  • Consider implementing an infectious disease control policy.
  • Have built in backups and emergency action/contingency plans in place to ensure your critical business functions are affected as little as possible.
  • Stay up to date on the latest government communications/recommendations on more widespread preventive measures that are being taken.
  • Communicate frequently to help employees stay informed with the latest information or organizational plans of action.

Read more: Limit the spread of germs and prevent infection

Don’t do these things

  • Violate the Fair Labor Standards Act by not providing exempt employees appropriate pay in the event of voluntary absences, involuntary business closures or reductions in hours.
  • Violate any regulations related to an employee’s medical condition, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, Family and Medical Leave Act or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
  • Conduct large group meetings, parties or conferences to the extent possible during this time.
  • Discriminate based on race or national origin. Increased instances of discrimination have been reported since the Coronavirus began to spread.
  • Panic because fear and uncertainty can lead to people acting and thinking irrationally. However, unified messaging and communication from company leaders can help restore a sense of calm within your organization and ease the minds of employees.

Read more: OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

Policy changes

Syndeo is tracking potential updates to state and federal policies that are being prompted by the Coronavirus pandemic. For example, members of the U.S. Congress have been working on a bill to provide free screening, enhanced unemployment insurance and additional paid leave for those affected by the Coronavirus, according to a report from the Society for Human Resource Management.

Certain states, such as California, Colorado and Washington, also have formally enacted updated paid sick time and other workforce policies in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Those states have some of the highest reported rates of Coronavirus in the U.S.

More states likely will follow in making similar changes.

About us: As the Heartland’s leading employer services company, Syndeo partners with local business owners to help them minimize risk, improve efficiency and maximize profitability allowing them the freedom to focus on growth and fulfilling their mission. Syndeo fulfills its mission by taking on all of the HR responsibilities for our clients’ workforce, including employee relations, benefits, risk management and payroll.

 

~Josh Heck, Marketing Manager, Syndeo

 

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