How Can the HR Department help to cope with COVID-19?

Challenging times call for prudent measures.

Undoubtedly, the spread of COVID-19 has severely impacted businesses, and HR teams have been working around the clock to ensure businesses are able to respond to the change in workforce needs. Some of these changes include hiring freezes, remote working, continuous measuring of temperature etc. However, the COVID situation is going to be around for a while. These uncertain times call for tackling the situation proactively to ensure employees are safe and that the business continues to operate. The following are some tips to take into consideration. Please note that these are just tips and must not be construed as legal advice. So, here goes:

  1. Remote Working – The need of the hour is to implement Work From Home (WFH) with optimal efficiency. For SMEs this would mean using tracking, conducting online sessions, training your employees and achieving targets together. For a product-based company, logistical issues pertaining to production and delivery may arise, and managers need to plan ahead of time to account for it. Small automations can be implemented to enable more efficient ways of working.
  2. Workplace Sanitation & Safety – Despite the lockdown, certain products and services will still have to be delivered. HR teams are thus required to familiarise themselves with legal knowledge of essential services and Workplace Safety Acts. They must ensure that businesses are aware of the requirements to comply with and also ensure that employees are not placed at risk in these circumstances. As a result, medical equipment like IR thermometers, proper grade masks, gloves, and/or sanitizers need to be made available at site. Ultimately, the safety and well-being of employees is vital to ensure to get to ‘the other side’ of Covid-19.
  3. Perceived Risks & Non-Attendance – It may be that even within essential services, cases of non-attendance may arise as employees might be afraid of the risks of exposure. In such situations, it is important that HR teams respond with compassion and rationalize with the employee, map their daily work journey and interactions with provide them all the protective gear and instructions to ensure their safety. The approach of HR in cautiously managing such situations will contribute significantly to the sentiment of the business.
  4. Hiring Freezes – Hiring is on the backburner in a number of businesses at the moment. However, it is important to be aware that there are a number of talented candidates out there who are looking for a job/job change. Therefore, this is a great time to build your talent pipeline, the returns of which you will see in the months to come.
  5. Training – In a number of businesses, employee training may not be prioritized due to ongoing operational demands. There was never a better time for employee training. You can equip employees with study material and encourage them to take courses for their professional development. Although this may be come at a cost to the company, there are numerous free trainings available that would allow training costs to be kept at a minimum.
  6. Online Platform – If you haven’t tapped into online platforms as a resource, now is the time to try out your online ideas and involve your customers directly. There may be a decline in sales but use the opportunity to grow the brand online through social media.

 

So now that you are equipped to manage the situation, what next?

Across the globe, countries are starting to relax the lockdown and businesses are able to resume operations. However, this brings with it the exposure to the risk of getting infected. Here are some tips of how you can minimize the risk and continue to stay safe:

  1.  DO NOT PANIC – The COVID-19 situation is a big wake up call to all of us. Do the best you can to comply with all safety requirements and directions and keep going with caution is the mantra here.
  2. Comply with the Rules – If your company has asked you to return to the office, there will be certain guidelines laid out by the HR and Safety departments. Please ensure you read, understand and strictly follow these guidelines. Your safety is of utmost importance to the company, so take all measures to ensure that you do not compromise your personal health.
  3. Improve Your Immunity – Please eat healthy foods and maintain a light exercise regime as part of your daily routine. It is very important to keep your immunity levels high to reduce risk to COVID-19. Try to improve your lung capacity by practicing deep breathing or meditating at home.
  4. Stay Cautious: Maintain Social Distancing at all times – Although you have taken all the care in the world to ensure your safety, being around someone who hasn’t places you at risk. So, please refrain from any form of physical contact with colleagues, and maintain a safe distance from them.
  5. Try to get work done from home – If you are able to attend to work over a video call than an in person meeting, do so. It is natural to go back to the old ways of working, which doesn’t allow us to realize that we can do things differently too. So, think about how you can do things differently without compromising quality.
  6. Keep protective gear with you – Always keep three safe masks, a hand sanitizer and a sanitizer spray with you at all times and use it regularly. Also, be sure to avoid touching your face unless your hands are sanitized first.
  7. When Back Home – Before you enter your home, take off your footwear, sanitize and place them in a sanitised location. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and avoid sitting anywhere or being in contact with any member of your household. Also, sanitize your phone, laptop and bag. Take a refreshing hot water shower before you continue with all household chores. Have some hot water boiled with cloves and cardamom. Make this a ritual.

 

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog. On behalf of everyone at Job Check, we wish you a healthy and safe return to work. We will see better times soon as we carefully navigate the current situation. We encourage you to support your immediate communities in any way possible to ensure we all come out of this safe and secure. Take care J

Authored by: 
Sukhbir Kaur
Job Check, Mumbai

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