How to manage staff during the twists and turns of COVID

We all need to live with COVID but the way we do it will vary from person to person. As a business owner or manager, this will impact how you manage your staff and the protocols you need to put in place to ensure everyone’s safety.

As we have already seen, this will be dynamic as new variants (and data on the disease) evolve. So what do you need to do?

Here are our 5 Tips on managing staff fears and keeping everyone safe.

1. Some work can’t be done offsite
According to the Productivity Commission, approx. 35% of jobs have components that can’t be completed at home and over 60% of jobs can’t be done remotely. That means your workforce will require multiple business models and safety plans – depending on each worker’s role in your business.

The best way to reach agreement is to consult with staff and ask them for their ideas. Over the past 2 years, we have worked with our clients to create and implement workplace solutions to ensure everyone is safe and productive at work – no matter where they are located.

2. Their commute may determine their enthusiasm for onsite working
The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey has been studying our lifestyle since 2001. Unsurprisingly, their research found staff satisfaction is directly linked to the workplace commute. The longer the commute, the less time staff will remain with an organisation.

So if you want to keep your staff, look at their travel time and work together to find a hybrid format that works for both of you. Again, this might require an individual approach and more investment by you in your IT systems.

3. Managing fearful staff
Throughout the pandemic, we have talked about creating a QuaranTEAM. It’s a workplace philosophy that embraces tolerance and resilience. For fearful staff, it’s trying to understand the basis of their fear (e.g. an underlying health issue for them or a member of their family) and working with them to find practical solutions so they can feel safe at work. Helping our clients uncover the issues and find solutions is one of the services we offer.

4. Mitigate your business’ COVID risk
If it hasn’t happened already, the reality is, COVID will come into your workplace so how are you going to minimise the disruption? There are many different aspects to this – depending on your business and your industry. It might:

  • Involve splitting departments into 2 or more groups and allocating particular onsite working days to each group
  • Involve encouraging staff who can work from home to do so for the foreseeable future
  • Require allocating each apprentice or trainee to a single senior staff member to ensure junior staff don’t accidently become the workplace “super spreader”
  • Mean that you supply Rapid Antigen Tests to staff members to use when they work onsite

The list of possibilities are endless. We can help you work through your options, consult with your staff and implement your risk mitigation plan.

5. Offer ‘Anchor Days” to keep workplace culture alive
Some businesses are electing to have “Anchor Days” during periods when COVID numbers are down. Anchor Days are nominated days of the week when every staff or team member is expected to work onsite. For these organisations, Anchor Days are the glue that keep teams cohesive and connected. They also provide opportunities for idea exchanges and training opportunities.

Managing staff is more challenging than ever!

Effectively managing staff has always been challenging but 2022 is shaping up to be more challenging than ever. As specialist HR Consultants, the End2end Business Solutions team can assist you with all aspects of developing and implementing a tailored human resource plan for your business. To investigate how we can help, call 02 8977 4002.