- Develop a plan and help morale.
Many of your employees will be feeling anxious and unsure about the situation at hand. It is important that you address the situation in a positive way. Friendly communication with staff is vital. Along with this, make sure you develop a solid plan, so that if you have to react to a more dramatic impact of the virus, the business and the employees will be taken care of. This means testing the capacity to work remotely in the case of a lockdown, and making sure employees are briefed not only about their rights regarding sick leave and instances of self-isolation, but also updates on what actions the business is taking to ensure their health and well-being.
- Stay away from social media.
The spread of misinformation is almost as dangerous as the spread of the virus. Use common sense and judge everything you read or hear about COVID-19. Official global health bodies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), as well as government and state health entities are trustworthy sources of information, many ‘reputable’ news sources are broadcasting false or exaggerated information, and smaller sites are writing about anything to get clicks. Staying away from general social media and the wall to wall COVID-19 coverage will help you be informed on just the facts, not the fiction of the issues, and will be more beneficial for your mental health. Encouraging your employees to do the same will help improve the workplace environment as well.
- Stay on top of workplace misconduct issues.
Just because there is an emergency situation does not mean you should be ignoring matters of workplace bullying, harassment or discrimination. If anything, you should be more vigilant regarding these issues, as heightened tensions within the workplace can increase rates of discrimination and mistreatment. This can be especially true regarding the virus and racial profiling of co-workers, but also any third parties that people interact with both in a workplace and private environment. Continue to remind your employees of proper workplace behaviour and treat any complaints that come forward during this time with the same level of importance as you would at any other time.
The easiest way to limit the spread of the virus is through proper hygiene. The World Health Organisation recommends that you remind, or teach, your employees about proper health etiquette at this time. This includes proper handwashing techniques, social distancing, and coughing and sneezing manners. Putting up reminders and notices about these techniques around your office is also a good idea, as well as making sure there are cleaning supplies such as hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes available for employees to use. It is also important to make sure all workspaces and areas are frequently and properly cleaned.
While it is important to look after yourself and your health during times like these, it is also important to think of your co-workers. They could be anxious and concerned about the situation, or unaware of how to react to the media onslaught of misinformation. Keep an eye out for their physical and mental health and encourage them to go home or talk to someone if they are feeling stressed at work as a result. Along the same line, if you are feeling unwell, it is important to stay home. Going into work may cause you or your co-workers unnecessary stress, or unwittingly spread the virus throughout your workplace.