I’m sure you have seen or heard the latest announcements regarding our plans out of lockdown. Finding the key dates was not particularly easy, but then this whole situation is not particularly easy.
My focus for today is what happens between now and June (what happens beyond June is another whole discussion to be saved for another day).
At the moment, the Government are still asking everyone to work at home where it is possible to do so and this is unlikely to be lifted until AT LEAST 21st June.
So where does this leave you?
Well, it depends on your business.
Shops, once allowed to open will need staff and those staff can’t work from home.
Estate Agents are already open and although not the traditional way of working, can work from home at least some of the time.
Factories, will need production staff onsite and support staff may well be able to work from home.
Offices, in the majority of cases, employees will be able to work from home.
So, what do you need to do next?
Review your policies and procedures:
Do you have a set of temporary policies which are in place? Have you carried out home worker / lone worker risk assessments? Have you provided your workforce with everything they need to be able to work effectively?
Review your recruitment:
How are you going to recruit online? The latest stats show that more than half of companies are now planning recruitment and that fewer companies are planning job cuts. With 5% unemployment levels, your recruitment methods must be robust to ensure that you are hiring the right people for your business.
Review your onboarding:
Once you have hired someone, how do you induct them into your business when you are geographically spread – this is the next challenge for businesses to overcome. Setting up a robust induction plan is essential. Ensuring people are assigned a line manager, a buddy and are involved in the business from day one is essential.
Where you do have staff back in the office on a temporary or permanent, full time or part time basis, you need to ensure that the workplace is safe and fully complies with all current health and safety standards. You MUST carry out a regular risk assessment and ensure that the findings are shared with all employees. They must understand how you are protecting them and the role they play in protecting colleagues.
At the present time, you can not insist that current employees are vaccinated. However, there appears to be some flexibility when hiring new staff, but your contracts of employment must be updated to reflect this. Although we do not yet know how people will be able to prove they have received the vaccination, and there is no law in this country requiring people to be vacinated, if it is a requirement of your business for people to be vaccinated, it currently appears that employers will be able to insist on this as a criteria for new hires.
As a warning, there is the potential for a discrimination claim and as per my recent FAQ you do need to proceed with caution.
Employee Engagement and Wellbeing:
Ensuring your staff are willing and able to work at maximum capacity is good for you AND for them. People want to know that you care. Everyone has their own struggles right now, some bigger than others. As an employer, you still have a duty of care towards your staff EVEN WHEN THEY ARE WORKING FROM HOME.
Have a think about how you can thank them.
Have a think about what you can do to support them.
A couple of weeks ago we posted seven days of ideas for supporting your staff and those ideas are more important today than they were then. For some the thought of another 18 weeks working from home is terrifying!!! Take a read of our ideas and generate some of your own which work for your business.