Running a business of any sort is extremely challenging at the best of times and the added pressure of working under a pandemic adds to the complexity for business owners and HR teams.
Businesses all over the globe have thus had to readjust their strategies and ways of working in order to maintain the best possible workflow while simultaneously ensuring a safe working environment.
In order to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols of social distancing, many businesses have been forced to work on skeleton staff – meaning as few people working as possible – while also ensuring that the production speed within or overall function of a business is not impacted. Organisations are having to balance profit and purpose and continue to support their workforce through this crisis.
Managing of remote work and assisting employees who have contracted the virus and are recovering presents a unique challenge for organisations and below we un-pack some of the ideas that some of our partners have used and that could be applied in your company:
- Workforce productivity drops if your team are in a constant state of fear and uncertainty. Explain the systems that are in place and lead by example.
- Encourage your teams to invest in themselves in terms of improving diet and exercise. While South Africa has a relatively young population, the country as a whole struggles with poor diets and lack of physical exercise which leaves immune systems compromised. Simple things like making available fresh fruit and encouraging them to focus on doing 30 minutes a day of physical exercise are easy wins.
- One of our partners in the hospitality sector emphasises the importance of screening. They highlight to their staff that if one person attends a large group gathering in a manner that does not adhere to the social distancing guidelines, all the employees and customers present at the restaurant can be put at risk. It is important to have members of the team who are systems and process driven and aren’t going to let standards slip – you are only as good as the weakest links in your processes.
- Another partner working in the logistics and warehousing industry have developed a system that allows them to isolate groups, limit exposure but still keep operations running. Their business has been divided into two smaller groups that are strictly adhered to, which then work on a shift rotation to ensure minimal contact between the groups. This type of division ensures that if an employee from Group A is exposed to the virus, Group B will still be able to work and run the business while Group A goes through the necessary health measures. This strategy aims at both limiting the spread potential while too ensuring that the business may continue operating in the case of employee infections.
If you adopt a mindset that your staff are your greatest asset and you invest in their health and safety, you will see a far greater Return on Investment than if you try to cut corners for short-term wins.