You can plan to adjust your workforce or change your working conditions to protect your company, team, and customers. Here are a few options to consider.
#1) If an Employee Is Sick…
If any employee shows signs of illness, they should stay home and far away from customers and other employees. Even before you know if the employee has COVID-19, tell them to stay home and implement policies that increase the likelihood that sick employees won’t come to work.
Employees who rely on their paychecks, don’t have paid time off, and/or worry about retribution for calling off may push through an illness and continue to come to work. Make sure your workforce rules encourage those employees to stay home. Consider the following changes.
- Offer paid sick leave.
- Update sick day policies to include more time off.
- Explain to employees that no one will be punished for calling out.
- Send employees home if they show symptoms.
#2) If Someone in an Employee’s Household Is Sick…
If someone in your employee’s household may be sick with COVID-19, it brings a substantial risk to your business, employees, and customers. It’s possible that your employee could contract the virus without showing symptoms.
Develop policies and plans that prevent those employees from coming to work.
- Educate your employees on the importance of staying home if someone they have interacted with is sick.
- Ensure that your policies for sick employees also cover them if someone in their household is sick.
- Include an option for employees to work from home if someone in their household is sick.
#3) If an Employee Is In an At-Risk Population…
Some populations are more at-risk during the COVID-19 pandemic than others. Older adults (especially those 65 and older) and people who have underlying medical conditions could be severely impacted if they contract COVID-19.
Protect employees that fit into these categories by issuing guidelines that keep them at home longer and farther away from other employees and customers. Please see the CDC website for a full list of groups at higher risk for COVID-19(https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/groups-at-higher-risk.html).
#4) If Your Area Is Under Stay-at-Home Guidelines…
States, counties, and cities may have different guidelines about how businesses should operate during COVID-19. Follow state and local rules when determining how to adjust your workforce and business during COVID-19.
If your area is under “stay-at-home” or “safer-at-home” guidelines, keep your doors closed if you are a non-essential business. Then, determine if it makes sense to:
- Conduct business through remote work.
- Sell products or services online.
- Offer delivery or curbside pick-up if you run an essential business.
#5) If Employees Work Closely Together
COVID-19 will likely also force you to adjust the physical environment of your business. If your employees work closely together, you have a few opinions.
- Direct all of your employees to work remotely.
- Direct some of your employees to work remotely. Bring a few employees in during a rotating schedule.
- Space out work stations.
- Create dividers around work stations.
- Provide masks to all employees.
- Set up regular cleaning and disinfecting standards for common areas.
For more tips on creating a safe space for employees and customers, please refer to CDC guidelines(https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/businesses-employers.html).
#6) If You Can’t Afford to Keep Your Staff…
One of the most difficult adjustments that your business might need to make during COVID-19 is deciding what to do if you can’t afford to keep paying your employees.
You may have to choose to adjust your staff in a few ways.
- Furlough employees if you believe you will be able to rehire them.
- Layoff employees if you need to permanently cut your payroll.
- Create part-time positions if you can’t continue to offer full-time salaries.
- Use contract employees if you need temporary help and want to keep payroll expenses low.
#7) If Your Business Received Funds Under the CARES Act..
If your business received funds under the CARES Act, it’s important to know and follow guidelines for loan forgiveness. There are guidelines related to how you can adjust your workforce. If you fail to follow payroll and employment requirements, you may be required to pay back the loan, rather than have it forgiven.
Consider working with a financial professional who clearly understands the requirements and can help you adjust your workforce within the legal guidelines.
Get Help with Adjusting Your Workforce During COVID-19
Organizations across the country are dealing with business disruption caused by COVID-19. If your business needs help with going through those changes, CareerSource Florida is here to help.
If you need to adjust your workforce during COVID-19, we’re here to offer services to help you adapt. Learn more about how our business services can help you navigate workforce changes. We are committed to helping Florida talent and businesses get through COVID-19.