COVID-19 is a severe health and humanitarian crisis. The virus has also forced enormous business challenges. Customer demand is down, and there are supply chain interruptions, unemployment, economic recession, and increased uncertainty. Businesses will need to find ways to recover, and the time to address the problems is now.
Bringing Your Employees Back to Work
Before you begin the process of bringing your employees back to work, you must prepare to offer your staff a safe place to work. An excellent place to start is Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19. This document, compiled by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), provides steps you can take to demonstrate your safety concerns for employees, customers, and vendors. If you have workers who are furloughed or laid off, you will have to follow procedures much like a new hire. Re-hiring these employees will include collecting application materials and a Form I-9.
Obligation to Employees
Your legal duty is to provide your employees with a workplace that is free of public health and safety hazards. It would help if you alleviated, as much as possible, your employees’ risk of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace. At a minimum, you should clean and disinfect shared workspaces following the guidelines set forth by the CDC and OSHA. Safety measures include PPE, monitoring employees for symptoms of COVID-19, and implementing social distancing as much as possible. Advise employees not to return to work if they have been in contact with anyone with the symptoms of COVID-19. Rearrange work areas to increase the distance between employees. Dedicated workstations can help to minimize the number of people touching the same office equipment.
Proceed With Caution
We are all eager to resume our normal lives. However, the new normal will undoubtedly be different than it was at the beginning of the year. Health concerns will be widespread, so consider this when you begin calling your employees back to the office. It might be helpful if you brought back your team members in phases. Staggering your employees’ return will allow you to test office protocol and make sure that social distancing is achievable. Throughout the process, proceed carefully to avoid infringing on the legal rights of individual employees.
COVID-19 is unpredictable, and experts believe we may see spikes in cases in the months to come. It is prudent to consider strategic steps to prepare for the ongoing uncertainty. Measures may include:
- Apply for government funding
- Review and update your insurance policies
- Review supply chain and vendors
- Talk to your customers
- Examine your standard operating procedures (SOP), Service agreements, and contract terms
- Review the employee policies and privacy regulations
Are You Ready to Reopen?
Remember that you can help your employees and prepare your company for the challenges of the coming months by planning now. If you find yourself needing additional help, consider how SIS can help your business. The SIS team can find the right people with the right skill sets for your food production and light industrial contingent staffing needs to help your business operate efficiently.