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How HR Departments Should Prepare For The Coronavirus

With coronavirus still continuing to spread across the world, we’ve put together a handy guide on best practices companies and human resources departments should follow to help their employees stay healthy and infection-free.

Effective Communication is Key

Companies should pull together information pertaining to the coronavirus in order to create a ready-to-refer instructional guide for employees that not only educates them about the viral infection, but also enlists ways to avoid it.

Communication should be a multi-pronged strategy and use all channels of communication available.

Information gathered should be from credible and verified sources, such as this page, the CDC website, and reputable news sources that clearly attribute their information to either governmental agencies, or health professionals engaged in researching the virus.

Implement Flexible Working Arrangement Plans, or BCP Protocols

Should the Virus reach a pandemic level, allowing employees to work from home is the best way to prevent contamination given that human-to-human transmission is possible.

“By implementing flexible working arrangements, you are not just eliminating the possibility of transmission at the office but also during commute. This is especially so for densely populated cities such as Hong Kong where you are literally inches away from someone’s face in the MTR during peak hours,” says Tan.

For location-dependent businesses, this might not be possible, but the CDC and WHO websites have laid out ways to avoid viral infections by using non-invasive implements such as face masks, alcohol-based hand sanitisers, and maintaining good personal hygiene.

Reconsider Leave Policies

The last thing a company wants is for an infected employee to turn up to work because they didn’t have enough paid time off left. That not only hurts the sick employee who has had to stress him/herself out to get to work, but also their colleagues, as well as everyone and everything they encounter and touch on the way.

For employees that are suspected of being sick, or start feeling ill during the day, particularly those that have been travelling, calling and notifying health authorities should be a priority. Fear mongering and forcing the employee into isolation, against their will, should be avoided at all costs, until advised by a medical authority.

Using Tech to Avoid Human Contact Might not be such a bad thing

Platforms that allow teams to collaborate and communicate effectively can be used during work-from-home days. Meetings can be done over Skype, Google Hangouts, Gotomeeting, or Zoom.

Other HR Initiatives

  1. Beside provisioning free masks and sanitiser, the cleaning schedule of the office can be increased.

  2. Senior management has to walk the talk to ensure they mask up wherever appropriate to.

  3. If the virus reaches pandemic levels, temperature taking could be incorporated so that everyone in the office would have a peace of mind and not be paranoid that their co-workers may be infected. Such information should be openly available so that employees have complete trust in the information provided.

  4. Lastly, lunch could be catered so as to minimize employees exposure to crowded areas.

Quick note: This is not to be taken as legal advice. Speak with health and legal professional before implementing guidelines for your company.


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