I hope that you are doing well and that you are taking care of each other in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Remember to slow down and take care of yourself too!
TREC has compiled a set of resources to assist you in navigating you and your organization’s response to COVID-19. You can find them here. These are useful resources to address a range of needs, including temporary policies, work-at-home best practices, financial management and planning, and fundraising.
Given that so much is changing in your organizations, like working at home, canceling events, restricting travel, etc., a great place to start is to revisit your employee policies and to adopt a temporary policy that addresses the current situation.
TREC has prepared a sample of a Temporary Employee Policy related to COVID-19. This is just a sample: your policy should be adjusted to fit your organization and to be in compliance with state, province, and federal law. Use the temporary policy to address working at home, flexible schedules, travel restrictions, and going virtual for office meetings and events. When you announce these new policies, make sure to emphasize that these are just temporary policies related to COVID-19. When the pandemic passes, you will return to regular work arrangements.
The situation is continually evolving, so let staff know that the policies may shift based on recommendations from health agencies or government. In the U.S., Congress is currently deliberating on measures that could change benefits for employees. We’ll keep you posted as we find out more about what applies to us and what assistance may be available.
As you consider changes to work arrangements and policies, consider the impact on all members of your staff, families, and communities, not just those that are the most abled. This pandemic is not affecting all people the same, some are more vulnerable. Revising our policies is an opportunity to practice inclusion.
Taking care of your mental and physical health is critical during times of extreme and rapid change, like now. Make sure you are aware of your organization’s current policies and benefits, including sick time. Also, check with your providers and health insurers about mental health benefits and make sure staff know what is available to them.
In addition to protecting the health of your staff, policies are in place to protect the health of your organization. This is especially important now as more work moves online and to employees’ homes. Talk with your staff about good digital safety protocols like securing passwords, setting up two-factor authentication, and saving files online. Carefully review your system for keeping confidential information secured. Remind staff to check for phishing attempts in their email, which have been increasing in recent days because hackers know that organizations are not following regular protocols.
These are challenging and unprecedented times for all of us, and you may be feeling overwhelmed because it seems that everything needs your attention. By taking the time now to put into place new policies and protocols, you are taking care of the health of your staff and your organization, and you are saving time and additional stress down the road. We are here for you. Please keep letting us know what you need.