Managing staff through the uncertainty created by COVID-19 will likely be one of the most challenging tasks for your business, but there are a number of things you can do to ease the strain.
Give them the facts: Make sure you are only passing on information from official sources such as the CDC and the WHO. One important thing to know is that, according to the CDC, there is currently no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. It is primarily transmitted person-to-person, which is why separation measures like social distancing and take-out are important.
Stay home if sick: The CDC recommends that all employers actively encourage employees exhibiting any symptoms of illness to stay home until they are free of all symptoms for at least 24 hours. They have also made available workplace posters [In Spanish] to help remind your staff.
Stay home if a risk: If an employee confirms that they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, employees should also immediately contact their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance on appropriate actions. If you have employees returning from travel, you may also consider requesting that they self-quarantine if they have traveled to high-risk countries.
Communicate workplace cleanliness practices: Now is obviously the time to re-emphasize cleanliness in the workplace. Talk to your employees about the proper steps to take before they come to work. While at work, every employee needs to be mindful of touching their face and be reminded how and when to wash their hands. Other common practices like handshakes and fist bumps should be discouraged to help minimize the chance of spread.
Strengthen communication plans: With a situation changing as rapidly as this one, you need to make sure you can get in touch with your employees to get them information they need. Quickly review all of your communication plans and policies to make sure they can handle the speed of the current environment, and ensure you have updated contact information for everyone on your team.
Identify key tasks & personnel: As demand changes, your staffing needs will also change. Make a list of all the activities which are critical to your business and all the personnel who can accomplish them. Start preparing for the unfortunate event of some of your key personnel getting sick by cross-training other staff members on how to accomplish the critical activities.
Listen to your people: They probably have great ideas and will be incredibly resourceful in coming up with solutions, streamlined operations, and workplace safety and sanitation. Schedule daily check-ins and regular communications so everyone can voice their ideas and concerns.