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Over the last few months the effects of Covid-19 has had on businesses and their operations. One thing that need to understand is is how businesses are adjusting in regards to their employee relationships. With new measures and information being rolled out on a daily basis, HR departments are in a scramble to understand how these changes will affect their employees moving forward.

To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, companies have switched to a remote work model at a rate and scale they’ve never experienced. As face-to-face collaboration is replaced with e-mail and videoconferencing, HR managers have to do difficult work under difficult circumstances. 

Even before the coronavirus pushed remote work to its limits, virtual work was on the rise. The number of people telecommuting in the U.S. increased 159 percent between 2005 and 2017, according to data from Flexjobs. The data also shows that 4.7 million people in the U.S. currently telecommute, up from 3.9 million in 2015.

HR leaders can’t wait for a crisis to develop to start responding. You need answers now to questions you’ll face in the event of any large-scale outbreak.

Prepare to answer basic employees questions about the threat: What is the nature of the disease? How is it transmitted? What are its symptoms, and what healthcare precautions are appropriate? Have answers for logistical questions, such as whether employees can work from home or what to do if an infected employee comes to work .

More broadly, to ensure that employees, shareholders and other stakeholders believe the organization is prepared to handle a crisis, make sure you have a plan in place.