Well, here we are, a world dealing with a pandemic. Here we are, employers trying to do what’s right for our businesses and for our employees. I’m writing today as an employer and, hopefully, as a helping hand.
While many workplaces are just now figuring out how to operate remotely, many more are figuring out if they’ll even be able to keep their doors open for business. Remote working, after all, isn’t an option for many organizations using Kin – companies with factories, retail stores, places of worship, and medical practices.
Without employees though, most organizations can’t operate regardless of locality. This certainly applies to every Kin customer. Many employers are realizing that they’re potentially going to have to operate with fewer employees for a few months, for myriad reasons. Some will be sick. Others will have sick children or family members to care for. As unsavory as it may sound now, employers may not be able to retain their current staff due purely to the economic fallout of the pandemic.
So what do we do as workplaces to prepare ourselves and our employees?
Employers don’t have all of the answers, but we do have the microphone, right? Employees look to us for guidance – we are the most tangible source of leadership most people interact with day in and out.
We can and should talk about how this pandemic may affect our operations. Answer employees’ questions even if the answer is “We’re not sure yet.” Ask questions too. Questions like “how is this affecting you?” and “what’s the most important thing we can do right now to help you out?” The simple act of talking openly goes a long way.
Be informed and be prepared
From sick time to parental leave, from non-paid time off to flex time, we owe it to employees to be up front and transparent about what our workplace can offer in times like these. Do you need to bump up your company’s time off and leave policies in light of these events?
It would be wrong to assume that every Kin customer can afford paid sick leave (in most U.S. states, paid sick leave isn’t mandated by law), but every employer can go into Kin today to ensure policies are generous enough to help employees through a tough time.
It will also behoove us all to pay close attention to changing local and federal laws on issues like paid sick leave, business travel, and work-related events. Times are changing quickly, and laws will too. Chances are we’re already doing the right thing; let’s make sure though, not just because of the law, but because of the people they’re meant to protect.
The constant news cycle about this pandemic is a lot to constantly metabolize and that works itself out in curious ways at work. Meetings might not go smoothly. We might have a hard time staying focused or hitting deadlines. Let’s be mindful that everyone operates a little differently in emotionally fraught times. As employers, a little extra patience along with a little extra outreach will go a long way.
Be a community
Concerts, gyms, places of worship, and maybe even your own workplaces are all taking necessary precautions to protect the general population. This inevitably exacerbates feelings of anxiety and isolation. We’re social creatures after all. Our workplace, remote or not, may be the only sense of community beyond family and friends that our employees can depend on, and as such it will play an increasingly important social role for many people in the coming weeks.
We’ll get through this intelligently
We’re all in this together. Let’s be rational and smart and do what’s right for our more at-risk populations by heeding the health guidance and warnings we’re all well aware of by now. We’ll get through this, and our workplaces will be the better for the experience.
If you need help updating your time off and leave policies, please let us know – we’re a part of your community too, and we’re happy to help. Likewise, we’re a 100% remote workplace, so if you have questions about how to keep your workplace mission afloat even if remote working is a temporary change, we’re happy to gab about the tools and practices that have worked well for us.