How to Prepare for Covid-19’s Business Impact this Winter

Unfortunately, Covid-19 in the US has not waned, but rather it is spreading.  It is likely that the Covid-19 pandemic will increase over the next few months.  It is important for Human Resource Departments and leaders to prepare for its potential impact over the next few months.  With holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years the potential for increased infection rates are most certainly high.  So, how can organizations prepare for potential disruptions in business over the next few months?  Here are a few items HR will need to consider, to mitigate the impact Covid-19 may have this winter.

Remote Work Policies

Most businesses have instituted a remote work policy since the beginning of the pandemic, however as restrictions have mostly been lifted, many workers are heading to the office again. It might be prudent to take a proactive approach to remote work come Thanksgiving.  A few possible solutions for organizations that need a presence in the office might want to consider a rolling schedule of sorts, where office capacity is limited to only 25% of your office is in the office at any point.  Having 75% of the office working remotely, while having 25% in the office will allow for a fair amount of room for social distancing thus mitigating potential spread if there is an Covid-19 event.

With remote work, it is important to keep in communication with team members and employees.  Communication is key within the office; it is doubly important to remain in communication with remote workers.  However, meetings still need to be kept at a minimum, but productivity and performance will need to be monitored.  To ensure your workers are being productive, it might take some time to plan and begin using an OKR framework to manage employees.  OKRs are an effective method of communicating employee responsibilities and company priorities.  Making a switch to this framework will help ensure success with the ability to monitor performance.  OKRs are not just for remote work, but it is a better framework than most for managing remote workers. 

Encourage Employees

It is important to keep employees motivated and encouraged during these troubling times.  It is also important that HR takes a look at overall organizational design and evaluate potential issues. This winter, it might be a good strategy for HR professionals to introduce or improve their incentive and recognition program.  While it is unlikely that Holiday parties will happen this winter, recognition does not have to be ignored.  Hosting a zoom awards meeting and giving out gift cards, bonuses, or general shoutouts would go along way in recognizing employees work even if most work were performed remotely.  This includes announcing any job promotions an employee has received. 

Control and Cut Costs

It is important for HR professionals to look at potential wasteful spending, or ways to reduce costs, this includes costs from suppliers, operational costs, HR initiative costs, vendor costs, and more.  From office supplies, PPE costs, or software, it is important that HR evaluates the cost/benefit of programs and operations.  During Covid-19, it should be easy to control certain costs associated with non-essential programs when workers are mostly working remotely. 

Some non-essential items would be furniture, purchasing new equipment, or even potentially shutting down non-essential office spaces.  Also, it might be time to look at software licenses and renewals, some renegotiations or taking a headcount to ensure the invoice accurately reflects actual numbers.  However, in addition to cutting costs, many processes can be streamlined.  HR ought to take a look at their processes and eliminate redundancies and identify efficiencies. This might include looking at work processes and determining if you need additional staff or if any work can be spread around to existing staff.  In either case, it is important to evaluate processes to get a handle on capacities and efficiencies of your workforce and processes. 

beepNow is here to help with navigating this pandemic.  beepnow’s beepHR can help with analysis of risks, by helping companies know more about their workforce and areas where they are most productive.   beepnow’s beepShift can help with scheduling in uncertain times, as well as lowering costs associated with scheduling.  In these difficult times, beepnow can help alleviate a multitude of risks and help navigate businesses through the uncertainty. 

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