Faced with an exceptional pandemic, like the one caused by COVID-19, companies must be proactive, adopt good practices and invest in intervention measures to manage the crisis well. The human resources at Omnimed offer you their advice.
Preventive measures to implement
Above all, if you have not already done so, you should adopt an infectious disease prevention policy to protect employees at work, which could include the following elements:
- A reminder of basic hygiene rules such as washing your hands often with soapy water for 20 seconds, covering your mouth and nose with your elbow or a handkerchief when coughing or sneezing, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with his unwashed hands;
- The disinfection of workplaces and crowded areas as well as the distribution of antiseptic products;
- The reorganization of work to promote telework for employees with flu symptoms or for jobs allowing it, limit contact between people such as physical meetings by favoring rather audio or video conferences, space the work stations if possible in order to create a distance between each;
- Absence management in order to clearly indicate the measures to be adopted relating to quarantine in the event of return from travel and in the presence of influenza-like symptoms, as well as the remuneration in the event of absences or isolation.
Communication with employees and patients
Communication is another key element to adopt in order to control employee concerns. It is important to minimize their panic and uncertainty in order to maintain a stress-free work environment as much as possible in a crisis. In order to avoid misunderstandings and questioning of employees, be sure to provide employees with reliable and current information, frequently, and stick to information from official sources, such as the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS). In the current context where the situation is changing rapidly, keeping your employees informed of updates is essential.
It is also important to communicate to patients the policies implemented in your workplace in order to reassure the population. Take advantage of telecommunications methods such as e-mail, social media and the homepage of your website to share the preventive measures adopted and clarify what is expected of patients. For example, if you favor teleconsultation, ask to limit the clinic visits, change your opening hours, require hygiene measures (handwashing at the entrance, wearing a mask, removing magazines in the waiting room), etc.
Business continuity plan
In a pandemic, several workplaces are faced with a high rate of absenteeism, given the employees who are in quarantine, who provide assistance to a relative in quarantine, or employees who want to exercise their right to refuse to work for fear of contagion. It is therefore important to adopt a business continuity plan in order to compensate for the slowdown in activities, which includes the following elements:
- Infectious disease prevention policy
- A guideline for management and communications
- Identification of critical operations to maintain
- Identification of resources that can compensate for the lack of staff
Human resources management
Employer’s decisions and behaviors can make a big difference for employees. It is essential to demonstrate calm and marked with leadership behavior. Be flexible, understanding, and permissive with your employees. If you can accommodate the schedules and allow shift exchanges between colleagues or even telework, do so. Be available to answer questions from your employees and be proactive in finding solutions.
Different emotions among your employees are possible, such as stress, anxiety, depression and can cause various reactions on the physical, psychological, emotional and behavioral level. It is likely that some people have more difficulty concentrating and making decisions, which can affect their work efficiency. Do not hesitate to encourage and support your employees to minimize these events. In the end, once the crisis is over, the support measures you have put in place will make a difference for your employees in terms of loyalty!
In the event of a pandemic, everything must be done to limit the spread of the virus. Managers must therefore review their openness towards telework as well as their telework policy, which may contain elements such as:
- The types of jobs that are eligible for teleworking, because obviously certain types of unionized jobs or essential services are not allowed;
- Flexible working hours if possible to accommodate people;
- The guidelines to follow regarding the presence of employees during video conference calls and meetings;
- The modes of communication to be favored and a communication routine adapted to the different teams;
- Monitoring mechanisms: favor short but more frequent meetings, without abusing them.
In order to maintain efficiency in the context of teleworking, it is essential to mobilize and supervise employees in order to create a feeling of closeness and autonomy which will contribute to harmonious relationships. Adopt clear virtual communication methods and use the technological tools at your disposal to improve efficiency. Be flexible, patient, and attentive. Regular follow-ups with employees and giving everyone clear goals will also keep them motivated and active. Now is the time to be proactive and innovate in your practices to encourage sharing and interaction.
If you have any questions or need additional advice, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are available to support you.