COVID 19 and your Organization
Changes you can make within your organization during these unprecedented times
Peter Bohan, Director of Firm Administration
17 September 2020
We are all facing a situation that no one has experienced before. Many businesses and organizations have made the decision to keep their offices and business establishments closed until there is an effective vaccine. Other businesses and organizations have either reopened or partially reopened. For those considering a reopening, below is a simple checklist so you can begin to prepare for the reopening:
- Communicate with your employees, informing them what the “rules of the road” will be when they return to the office, school or other place of work
- Proper safe social distancing
- Rules for wearing masks – these will vary by the individual work environments
- Not coming to work if feeling ill
- Not sharing common items – pens, staplers, notebooks etc.
- Prepare the work environment
- Signage at all entrances with office rules for the virus situation posted
- Cautionary/reminder signage posted throughout the workspace reminding people to practice safe social distancing and wearing masks
- Provide workers with hand sanitizer, wipes and masks
- Re-organize the physical work environment as necessary – this means closing gathering spaces and conference rooms (unless large enough to allow for proper social distancing), limit the use of kitchens and perhaps use of a refrigerator – this means that coffee makers, toasters and microwaves are not to be used. Move desks and partitions as necessary to achieve proper social distancing.
- Entrances – if possible, entrances to work environments should be locked to the general public. If the public is allowed into the workspace then there should be a log requiring them to sign in that will provide tracing information should there be confirmed cases in the work environment
- If possible, limit staff to only those that are needed and allow others to work remotely
Whether organizations are all working remotely or have reopened, there are challenges to everyday HR functions caused by the pandemic – most organizations need to hire and onboard new employees and review existing employees differently than they have done in the past. Below are some options for dealing with these tasks:
- Hiring – we have been doing Zoom interviews (or any other video conferencing tool). While it is not as good as conducting interviews in-person, it is much better than the telephone. For a second interview, if your work environment has a room that can allow safe distancing then you may wish to give the candidate the option to do an interview remotely or in person. If your process requires candidates to see more than one person then schedule the interviews for all people to see the candidate in one visit.
- Onboarding – if you have not already, convert all forms to electronic so they can be sent electronically and completed electronically. This will make the process easier both during the pandemic situation and afterwards. You may want to subscribe to DocuSign or another remote signing service.
- Employee Reviews and feedback – you may want to consider using an employee performance software program if you still have a paper system. All the information required by the employee or his/ her supervisors is easily available to be seen. The flow of information is seamless. Good and timely feedback is especially important now.