20th March 2020

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Categories: Engage for Success Blog

Reassuring your team about the pandemic

The coronavirus is an unprecedented global pandemic. Affecting more than 120 countries with around 135,000 cases, these statistics will probably be out of date and much worse by the time this article is published.

With the government stating that up to 80% of the country could contract the virus, it’s understandable why so many people are concerned about the situation.

Regardless of your thoughts on the matter, many of your employees will be worried about coronavirus. Here’s how you can reassure them that your business is on top of things:

Don’t dismiss their concerns

Nobody likes to be told their concerns are irrational or not important. If an employee comes to you with worries about the coronavirus, make sure their fears are listened to and taken seriously.

Reassure them their feelings are natural and take their feedback on board. Their input will be instrumental in designing your coronavirus policy.

Information is power

With the media publishing information on the coronavirus as it develops, employees who want to stay educated about coronavirus can do so. From a managerial point of view, you shouldn’t recycle the same facts but detail:

  • The measures you’re taking to prepare for coronavirus
  • If the virus has already affected your workplace

These points, especially the second, may feel counterproductive to avoiding employee panic.

However, with no information available, staff members will typically assume the worst is happening.

By providing this information, you stop employee gossip, rumour, and help to educate the workforce with hard facts.

Be flexible

If the government’s worst-case estimation is correct, chances are, someone in your workplace will contract coronavirus. In this situation, you should make it easy for your employees to either work remotely or stay at home.

Non-contractual sickness policies – where periods of illness or quarantine are met with either reduced pay or no income at all – will generally discourage your staff from staying at home.

Therefore, for the course of this outbreak, consider temporarily adjusting sickness policies so employees can either make up time or work remotely.

Those who wish to self-isolate should receive the same treatment. The important thing is to ensure minimal disruption to your business – while making sure employees who are sick can stay in isolation.

Protect income

The topic of money is generally treated as a taboo one in the UK, something which campaigns such as Debt Happens are trying to change. It’s partly because of employees not wanting to interrupt their income that as many as 90% of them admit going into work despite being ill.

With the coronavirus threatening to keep staff from their workplaces, incomes must be protected.

As before, be flexible and creative. Whether allowing individuals to work from home or make time up later, those who want to stay at home should be allowed to do so.

If an ill employee isn’t worried about their financial situation, they’ll be less inclined to force themselves back to work when they’re not well.

Implement preventative measures

As well as the above steps, you should also ensure:

  • Everybody’s contact details and next of kin details are up to date.
  • Team leaders and managers can spot the symptoms of coronavirus.
  • There are places for staff members to wash their hands regularly with hot water and soap
  • There is plenty of anti-bacterial hand sanitizer available.

Coronavirus is something we will beat together.

This is a global pandemic and will get worse before it gets better. However, it’s something which will eventually be beaten.

The important thing is to help employees stay safe during this time. Eventually, it will be business as usual.  For now though, the companies which thrive will be the flexible ones.

Author Bio: Tom Chapman, Content Manager, National Debt Service
Photo Credit: Charles Thompson from Pixabay