Responding to COVID-19: Week 1

During a series of forums during this past week, HR leaders from a range of industries shared concerns, ideas and resources for adapting best practices to the new realities of the COVID-19 epidemic. The sessions, offered remotely and moderated by CCA’s Dr. Jay Sandys and Dr. Tracey Delienne, allowed HR and benefits managers to discuss techniques that have helped their workforces adjust, as well as expressing concerns and sharing resources for the weeks ahead.

This week most of us were in a state of shock and adjustment. The most immediate concerns were caring for employees who are vulnerable, whether because they were new to working remotely, were temporarily laid off or because they were members of an already vulnerable population. Stress and the distractions of working remotely was also on the minds of forum participants.

Here are some of the best ideas:

  • Communicate regularly with remote staff to help break down silos and relieve stress. Consider adding some “pulse surveys”, “watercooler” or “happy hour” sessions to add humor and promote connection.
  • Consider offering “hazard pay” or additional benefits for workers who are unable to work remotely.
  • Promote EAP stress relief webinars for employees or meditation/mindfulness sessions.
  • Encourage remote employees to use lunch hours to exercise or walk outside while maintaining appropriate social distance.
  • Remind those who have been temporarily laid off to use Work-Life resource referrals available through their EAP to get services they need.
  • Use a full range of communication tools to connect, including Zoom, Slack Channels, Webex etc.

CCA’s Account Executives remain available during this time for organizationally specific needs or requests. Employee and Management focused webinars will be available in the coming weeks. Registration and information will be available on our website and through email. Additional tips in this series will also be available next week on our website.