As Nevada prepares to re-open non-essential businesses on April 30th, employers should begin preparing their companies to return to a more normal state of operations. There are many factors to consider in doing so.
Protect Your Workforce
The EEOC has created guidelines for employers on how to protect their workforce, such as taking an employee’s temperature, requiring workers with COVID-19-like symptoms to stay home, social distancing within the workplace, and increasing handwashing and cleaning within the workplace. See the EEOC Guidelines here. This article from SHRM also lists creative ideas that employers have implemented to prevent the spread of coronavirus in their facilities.
Determine Who Will Stay Remote
Determine which job positions will be allowed to continue teleworking and which ones will need to return to the office setting. Be prepared for an increase in employees seeking more flexible work arrangements post-pandemic.
You will need to develop a plan for the job duties of employees not returning to the office due to Emergency Family & Medical Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
You may have employees who were activated by the National Guard or military Reserves to respond to COVID-19. Employers may not delay an employee’s return date due to concern that the service member may have been exposed to COVID-19 while on military duty. This fact sheet from the Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Service provides more information about COVID-19’s impact on servicemembers’ USERRA rights.
As employees may not be working at their standard performance levels during this unprecedented time, consider temporarily suspending performance reviews as SHRM recommends here.
However, staying informed about employee experience is crucial. Consider weekly pulse surveys to assess the employee experience. Create questions around how employees are doing, what they might need, and any ideas they have to contribute to the success of the organization in the face of COVID-19 pandemic.
Evaluate Your Emergency Response Plan
For many employers, this pandemic was their first opportunity to implement their emergency response plan. Now is an ideal time to make any necessary changes to prepare for future emergencies. As the Centers for Disease Control currently predicts a resurgence of coronavirus next winter, consider adding an infectious disease/pandemic section to your response plan.
Have a Plan to Re-hire
Although your company may have faced furloughs or layoffs, you may consider re-filling those positions as the economy improves. Review and prepare changes to your job descriptions or onboarding process now so that you can quickly fill positions when you are ready to re-hire.
Share Your Story
Lastly, know that you are not alone. Businesses across the world are up against the same challenges that you are. Find comfort in people’s stories and consider telling your own. Read more…
Bailey Cummins, PHR, is a member of the HRinDemand team, a human resources company in Reno, NV, offering expert guidance and easy-to-use tools to help small businesses with employment regulations, compliance, employee relations, and company growth.
Maurer, Roy. “Employers Get Creative with Hiring During Coronavirus Pandemic.” SHRM, SHRM, 23 Apr. 2020, www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/Pages/Employers-Get-Creative-Hiring-Coronavirus-COVID19-Pandemic.aspx.
“COVID-19 Research, How the Pandemic Is Challenging and Changing Employers.” SHRM.org, SHRM.org, 2020, shrm.org/hr-today/trends-and-forecasting/research-and-surveys/Documents/SHRM%20CV19%20Research%20Presentation%20Release%202.pdf?_ga=2.199531566.1090080785.1587653838-1063997484.1565213359).
Janove, Jathan, and J.d. “Why Companies Should Suspend Performance Reviews During This Crisis.” SHRM, SHRM, 21 Apr. 2020, www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/humanity-into-hr/pages/-why-companies-should-suspend-performance-reviews-during-this-crisis.aspx?_ga=2.127844237.1090080785.1587653838-1063997484.1565213359.
US Department of Labor. COVID-19 Impayt Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights. 2020.
Cleeland, Nancy. “Safety in a Tough Spot: How to Prevent Coronavirus Spread in a Crowded Meat-Packing Plant.” SHRM, SHRM, 21 Apr. 2020, www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/employee-relations/Pages/Safety-in-a-Tough-Spot-How-to-Prevent-Coronavirus-Spread-in-a-Crowded-Meat-Packing-Plant-.aspx.
“What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws.” What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and COVID-19, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2020, www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/wysk/wysk_ada_rehabilitaion_act_coronavirus.cfm.