Flexible work arrangements in the new normal.
One year into the pandemic and authorities are still working on balancing economic activity and safety, tightening and loosening restrictions as they see fit.
In these ambiguous times, it’s best to anticipate scenarios, especially for your employees who are your greatest assets and are most affected by the fluctuating economy. Here are a few tips to help you navigate your business landscape:
Was your business prepared for this pandemic before it hit? If the answer is no, then you must have had to set up or update your business continuity plan.
To recap, a BCP is a process that helps a business prevent and recover from threats, including natural disasters, cyberattacks, and pandemics. It refers to the preparation your team goes through in case any of these occur.
It’s best to set up a resilience team. This is a group of people that represent each department and assigned essential roles. There should be someone in charge of the following tasks:
The size of your business determines the size of your resilience team. Just make sure you cover all the crucial steps to manage a crisis such as this one. Aside from determining your resilience team and their roles, also consider teammates who can boost employee morale and keep everyone’s emotional well-being up. Activities related to this are also important.
Even after vaccines are rolled out and we start feeling a sense of normalcy, it would be hard to ask your employees to get back to work as usual.
What you need to do is assess the situation of your employees through these steps:
Gauge the number of employees whom the virus has affected. See if they are experiencing serious financial or medical issues, or if any other concern is impeding their ability to get back to work.
Also, consider if there’s any form of aid you can provide these employees. After all, your team is the most vital aspect of your business. Empathy and solidarity are more important now than ever. The option to release 13th-month pay in advance can mitigate some of the financial difficulties they may experience during this time.
This is also the perfect time to update employee contact information and emergency contacts. It’s important to keep a record of emergency contacts in case anything happens.
Your survey should also be able to find out those who are healthy versus those who aren’t feeling well or immuno-compromised. See to it that they receive the care and consideration they need.
Take note of employees who have cars and motorcycles versus those who need to commute. From there, you’ll be able to figure out the best arrangement. As an example, you can rent a service vehicle. Conversely, you can rotate jobs and assign those with vehicles to come to work while those without to work from home.
Pro-tip: Make sure you save all this data within a cloud so you and relevant team members can access and edit the file easily. Use Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace, which have forms and cloud storage that can help you track information better. You can also take it one step further by exploring chatbots, like Globe Telecom’s own DUDE bot.
Once you’ve got a feel for how many workers can report to work again, establish a system. Those who can continue to work remotely should stay home. Schedule your skeletal workforce to ensure your team follows social distancing measures.
Pro-tip: Provide them prepaid internet kits or mobile plans to help them stay connected with you and each other.
List your team for COVID-19 vaccination from private sector initiatives, or encourage them to sign-up at their respective barangays. This is imperative so that businesses can help fast-track the economy’s recovery.
Make sure that the office space is properly sanitized. This is a new normal practice that shouldn’t be overlooked. Deep clean the office and try practicing color-coded cleaning. Fit the place with soap and alcohol dispensers in every corner. Make sure everyone is following proper hygiene methods through posted reminders.
As we wait for the vaccines to roll out and innoculate more citizens, mask-wearing is still needed. Give your employees face masks. Use this guide from the World Health Organization (WHO) on when and how to use masks. Take note of the WHO’s advice on wearing, removing, and disposing of face masks. For work settings that deal with close customer contact, food handling, and the like, provide your team with face shields and gloves, too.
Another thing to continue doing is social distancing, especially that the World Health Organization updated its guidelines on April 2021 on how COVID-19 is transmitted, now mentioning airborne-like tendencies for poorly ventilated and/or crowded indoor settings.
Re-layout workspaces with six feet in between employees and customers. You can space tables so people are about two meters away from each other. Another example is making sure only one person at a time can enter the restroom.
Pro-tip: You can even conduct virtual meetings through Microsoft Teams or Google Meets (part of Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace) instead of meeting up physically, or go as far as enforcing temperature checks upon entry.
Lastly, make sure that you have learned from this experience and are better prepared for the next disaster.
Ensure that you cover all the major diseases, COVID-19 and related complications, for the assurance of your employees. As mentioned earlier, sign your employees up for vaccination whether from private sector or government initiatives.
Pro-tip: Get a mobile plan that already comes with KonsultaMD, so that employees can have access to medical care without having to leave their homes.
Create a directory of everyone’s contact details. Better yet, set up communication channels on a messaging application of your choice.
Communication is more important now that we can’t meet face-to-face. Setting up the proper channels can help build assurance and solidarity during this time.
Pro-tip: For employees who have limited access to the internet, you can use M360 to send bulk SMS notifications.
We know how hard it has been for you and your employees, and we’re committed to helping you manage this situation.
This is indeed a challenging time for everyone, but we must stay vigilant. With the proper planning and preventative measures, we can get through this together. We can come out better and more prepared than ever before.
Until it is safe again, remember to take #ExtraCareatHome and share these tips with your friends and colleagues.
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