Managing a health crisis from an HR perspective
COVID-19 has been a steep learning curve for those within the HR industry.
The key focus of protecting the health and wellbeing of our employees, clients and visitors has remained paramount. However, the challenge for HR teams is to manage both the health and wellbeing of employees, whilst also managing the economic crisis faced by businesses.
The changes to the way we work and the remoteness of team connection has meant that the employee experience has been challenged like never before. However, it is where the safety and economic challenges collide, and that HR professionals need to focus their efforts at this point in time.
Relocation to the office
As companies begin to start relocating back into the office, it is crucial that HR teams have a comprehensive plan in place that focuses on both safety and utility. Managing health and safety is paramount, and providing employees with a workplace where they feel both physically and psychologically safe will enhance the engagement and productivity of employees.
Equally, the return to the office will be about providing employees with the opportunity to be busy and to contribute to the overall efforts of the company. The impact on utility will differ for each employee. Some have faced a stand down; others have had project priorities change; and those in the early stages of their career may have seen their development impacted as a result of not receiving the full benefit of delegation and supervision from working closely with seniors. All of these are aspects that HR teams must take into account and manage where possible.
Ongoing efforts of leaders to allay concerns and communicate important messages around safety and the individual’s contribution to the bigger picture is now the most important thing a leader can do.
Back to work plan
In line with government guidelines, every employer must ensure that health and safety requirements are included in their back to work plan.
We have listed below some practical considerations for you and your business:
- Social distancing – have markings in place in areas such as reception to ensure both employees and visitors comply with 1.5 metre distancing rules.
- Personal hygiene – staff need to adhere to all the requirements in respect to personal hygiene including regular washing of hands and physical distancing.
- Meeting rooms – enforce maximum person restrictions to comply with social distancing, clearly marking this in the entrance will help employees comply with the restrictions.
- Shared equipment – supply disinfectant wipes next to all shared equipment. Encourage staff to wipe equipment clean in readiness for the next person.
- Kitchens and shared areas – enforce maximum person limits in all shared areas and kitchens. Encourage staff to clean areas they have used in readiness for the next person.
Enforcing an effective health and safety plan as well as regular virtual meetings, one on one check-ins and showing a genuine interest in staff and their wellbeing will be vital in ensuring staff feel safe in the work place and will transition smoothly as we return to some type of normality in such an uncertain time.
This publication covers legal and technical issues in a general way. It is not designed to express opinions on specific cases. It is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Further advice should be obtained before taking action on any issue dealt with in this publication.