Coronavirus Outbreak: 3 Tips for Creating a Telecommuting Plan
According to the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 83,000 people in 53+ countries have been infected with COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus. Since the disease is highly contagious and spreading among communities, businesses in the U.S. should plan for “social distancing.” This practice includes office closures, replacing in-person meetings with video/telephone conferences and allowing employees to telework.
While working remote is a common trend for many companies, not every company has a current policy in place. Even so, those who do may not be prepared for the extent of a widespread virus outbreak. Here are 3 tips for creating a telecommuting plan:
- Set Expectations – Working remote provides employees flexibility but this perk could be misused. Supervisors should set clear boundaries regarding things like working hours, deadlines and quality of work. They should also take feedback from employees and consider what fits their individual needs. Consider hosting a human capital training session before a local outbreak begins to review these rules.
- Emphasize Communication – While instant messaging platforms are convenient and can be useful for quick check-ins, video and conference calls can be equally as beneficial. Getting to hear/see fellow employees can help workers feel less alienated and prevent miscommunications. Overall, address any concerns immediately and work together to ensure projects get completed efficiently.
- Ensure Proper Equipment & Security – This requirement will vary per company, but employers should make sure employees have the proper equipment- such as laptops and quiet work environments- to work remotely. Additionally, working on non-secured Wi-Fi can put sensitive information at risk. Employees should be reminded that work devices are for work only and IT measures should be taken to prevent data breaches.
“Employers need to understand that they may need to be flexible in what could become an extraordinary situation, both from simple humanity but also from self-interest,” said David Miller, an attorney in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area. “An employer who insists on enforcing attendance policies to the point of hardship may find itself with a huge morale problem—or even without employees.”
While creating a telecommuting policy in a short time-frame may seem overwhelming, it can be necessary for both employee and organizational health. Forcing potentially sick employees to come into the office can put healthy employees at risk but also damage a company’s culture. For assistance creating a policy and other human capital consulting, contact Exude today.
For more resources on coronavirus (COVID-19) visit our resource page which is being updated regularly with new information and resources.