We have previously talked about the fact that we need to get used to ongoing lockdown situations and unfortunately it is a reality for the immediate future.
We are nearly 18 months into this pandemic and it’s not yet letting up. So if you have employees, one way to help soften the blow is to ensure you have processes and policies along with a clear communication plan, each time you go into lockdown. At businessDEPOT, we are now saying to the team ‘you know the drill’.
If you can run your business with your team working from home, your processes and decisions will be different to those businesses [like a café] who need to pivot or close their business.
For businesses who can quickly move to working from home, in most cases your team spend their day working on a computer and using technology.
A few reminders to business owners with a team working from home:
- Your team need to sign off on Workplace Health and Safety. It could have been over a year since you have reminded them, through training or documentation, of their obligations regarding WHS. So we encourage you to revisit and resend your training and/or WHF checklists out again and ask your team to complete. When in the office, for example, we check ergonomics a few times a year, so the same applies to working from home.
Tip – if a team member is working from their kitchen table, they may need to implement a few different processes. One of these will be more breaks to get up and walk around. So by getting your team to complete a checklist, you will understand their circumstances and be able to support them with more guidance.
- Please be aware who those team members are, that are also taking care of children and have conversations about how they will manage their day. Home schooling is challenging and depending on the age of the children, will be much more taxing,the younger their children are.
Tip – Allow parents to flex their day and continue to set realistic expectations.
- Daily check ins by phone or zoom to see how the team are going are crucial. Many team members will be sharing their house with others. Our team share our key priorities for the day and it triggers any other actions people may have missed.
- Strongly encourage your team to follow the rules. Stay at home, get tested, isolate if sick.
- Please check in with team members to ensure they are feeling safe and comfortable. If you think you have an employee who may be vulnerable and have a family or domestic violence situation, it will be important to work with them to ensure they are safe. Encourage your team to talk to you and share any issues or challenges they are having.
- Be aware of what is deemed ‘essential’. Are there any team members who are required to carry out their duties and this needs to be done in the workplace? The latest advice is to consider very carefully what really needs to be done in a workplace.
For businesses who are pivoting, need to shut the doors, go online or offer takeaway. You have a few support mechanisms to lean on;
- Definitely make sure you are aware of the support packages available, read our latest info here.
- Your employees are also supported through the packages, in the event you need to stand them down or cut back their hours. Read our latest state-by-state summary here.
- Understand your options when standing down. If the business has been closed because of an enforceable government direction and employees cannot work from home, change in duties or hours, or access leave entitlements, then you may need to implement stand down.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or notice that a team member is overwhelmed, do not be afraid to ask for more help or pass on the information below.
Beyond Blue has a dedicated website and 1800 512 348 to provide mental wellbeing support 24/7, you can visit their website here.
Lifeline provides support to anyone experiencing a personal crisis. Their phone number is 131 114 and they are available 24/7.