Coronavirus, aka COVID-19, is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Like us, you’ve probably wondered what a COVID-19 outbreak could mean for you, your family, job, and company. The key to riding out such disruptions is prior planning, so we are sharing a list we’ve developed of best practices and resources for businesses responding to this pandemic.

VBSR has also planned a series of webinars to provide businesses with resources and tools as they respond to the impacts of the developing novel Coronavirus pandemic.

 

VBSR Webinar Series: Coronavirus Response Resources for Businesses:

 

Transitioning your Business to a Remote Workplace
Monday, March 30th, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Click here to register.

 

Mastering Virtual Meetings, Webinars, and Remote Workshops
Thursday, April 2nd, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Click here to register.

 

VBSR & Common Good VT Webinar: COVID-19 Policy Resources for Nonprofits
Tuesday, April 7th, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Click here to register.

 

Dealing with COVID-19 Anxiety and Hope: Options for Business Resiliency
Tuesday, April 14th, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Click here to register.

 

Recorded copies of past VBSR COVID-19 Webinars:

  • Coronavirus Response Toolkit for Workplaces and Families – watch here.
  • Discussion on the Federal Response to COVID-19 with Congressman Peter Welch – watch here.
  • How to Support your Employees with Child Care Needs during COVID-19 – watch here.
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Keeping your business and community safe (partial recording) – watch here.

 

Financial support

At the state and federal level, several entities are mobilizing to expand paid leave and unemployment options for employees, and for disaster assistance for businesses. As the news is changing rapidly, please check our news feed for updates.

 

Employer practices

In times of uncertainty, transparency and communication (over-communicating is better than under-communicating) can help alleviate stress and reduce unfounded speculation. As an employer, you can:

  • Communicate leave policies through all communication channels.
  • Consider expanding flex and leave policies.
  • Give employees as much advance notice as possible about site closures, reduced work time, temporary layoffs, etc., to help their planning for finances, dependent care and travel.
  • Make sure that when you’re offsite, you have ways to contact all employees if need be, remembering that some employees may not have access to WiFi, email, etc.
  • Encourage use of the workplace practices below.
  • Remember to keep employee health information private.
  • Use the organizational planning checklist below.
  • Plan accordingly if you’re in a higher risk industry.
  • Monitor the COVID-19 updates:

Employee workplace practices

  • Wash hands often with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds) or alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol), especially before eating and after going to the bathroom, blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If no tissues, cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you (or someone you’ve had close contact with) are sick with fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please stay home and use CDC guidelines for risk assessment. If your condition qualifies as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or similar state laws, we will consider reasonable accommodations.
  • If you work with a laptop, please bring it home more frequently. If you get COVID-19 but feel well enough to work (but please don’t push yourself!), we will deliver your laptop to you.
  • If you are not sick but, due to COVID-19 concerns, would prefer to work from home if possible, please let us know so we can discuss a potential work plan/schedule.
  • The CDC does not recommend that everyone should wear a face mask. To help prevent the spread of the disease, face masks should be used by people who show COVID-19 symptoms or are in close settings caring for someone with COVID-19.
  • Keep an eye on travel restriction guidelines and consider using virtual meetings, and you may want to avoid shaking hands in meetings.
  • Please remember that any of us may get or be exposed to COVID-19 and that those who are sick or exposed to COVID-19 have a right to privacy and protection from harassment or discrimination.

 

Organizational Planning

The goals for our organizational approaches are:

  1. caring for our employees and their families
  2. taking actions necessary to maintain our mission-driven organizations.

In addition to internal workplace practices, here are some of the areas to plan for as you review potential scenarios:

  • Employees take ill
  • Loss of staff due to family obligations (closed schools, sick relatives)
  • Loss of mobility from quarantines
  • Inability to work from the offices
  • Inability to do community marketing
  • Customers’ focus on the crisis, resulting in loss of interest in your products/services
  • Loss of access to sites or services
  • Supply chain interruptions
  • Financial challenges from revenue losses – to employees, to the business
  • And likely some more…

Hopefully drastic measures won’t be needed but if they are, we’ll be better off for having thought them through. And of course, we’re not alone. We’re connected to the best of the federal and state authorities:

Download VBSR’s Coronavirus Webinar here.