Talking to Employees about the Coronavirus

On top of all the other stressors we have in today’s world, now we have a global pandemic. Is this a Netflix series or what?

This is a really scary time for many people. As humans, we often focus on the bad things more than the good, the negative more than the positive. It’s important to communicate with employees during this time to alleviate as much of the stress about uncertainty as possible.

When communicating with your employees, state the facts simply and clearly. 

Connect your employees to timely, accurate information from Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and your state and county health departments. Make sure you give them clear instructions about what to do if they suspect they have been exposed to the Coronavirus.

Actively promote safety steps that employees can take at work and home.

Communicate those by using posters, memos, emails, intranet postings, supervisor talking points and FAQs to promote preventive actions employees can take in hygiene and social distancing.

Make sure employees understand your company policies

regarding paid time off, payroll continuation, travel and group meetings during this time. You may want to temporarily alter your policy for payment of time off for sickness for those who exhaust their current benefits.

Talk about your work from home rules.

One of the most effective strategies for limiting the spread of contagion among employees is to reduce human-to-human contact. If your organization supports telecommuting practices, clearly communicate procedures and expectations that employees should follow.

Promote safe travel policies.

Consider the organization’s current position on employee travel and restrictions. Promote alternatives to travel, such as web conferencing and phone meetings. If employees must travel, offer clear guidance on safety protocols, using guidance from the CDC and WHO.

Now is the time to be proactive in communicating with your staff.

You may not have someone in your company that contracts the virus, but, if you do, everything changes immediately. Talking to your employees now about how that would impact them, your business and your clients gives you the ability to answer questions that are in everyone’s mind and to be in control of the situation if it happens.

Having a plan and talking about it will give your employees the assurance that you are in control of the world they work in. This is important, now more than ever before.