How to manage a workforce in the face of a pandemic

It’s official – we’re in the grips of a pandemic.

Whilst that can be a cause for panic, with the right tools and team behind you, businesses can survive and even thrive in the current conditions. If you’re struggling to know how to handle the current coronavirus outbreak, take a look at our tips on how to manage a workforce in the face of a pandemic.

What is Covid-19?

Covid-19 was first reported back in December in Wuhan, China and has since spread across the globe. According to the government guidelines on Coronaviruses, they’re a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections. These can range from the common cold to more serious diseases.

As most of us know, this new coronavirus that has emerged can have serious implications and causes symptoms such as fever, flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue and shortness of breath.

Due to the contagious nature of the disease, many countries are going into self-isolation, which has caused disruptions to businesses in Australia and beyond. In light of the Covid-19 situation, businesses need to come up with new ways to manage and supervise their workforce remotely.

How can companies manage their employees effectively?

Here are some tips on how to manage your people during this turbulent time:

  • Ensure you have the infrastructure in place to support working from home

When we think about the infrastructure necessary for our people to be able to effectively work from home, often we think about the laptops, mobile phones, printers and other technology that is required. However, they’re not the only essentials that need to be considered. The infrastructure needed whilst employees work remotely includes the need to effectively manage risk and keeping you on the right track when it comes to safety and compliance too.

  • Be sure to put safety first

It goes without saying that employee safety should be the main concern of any business at the moment. This is likely to mean that employees will need to work from home in order to stop the spread of Coronavirus. It’s essential that measures are taken to keep everyone safe and well and that any incidents are tracked. A safety management software can help you record incidents and work out the associated costs too.

  • Find effective ways to communicate hours worked

Before your people start working from home, it’s a good idea to discuss how hours will be tracked and whether employees will need to record their hours of work (for example, in relation to annualised wages).

  • Use a task tracker to keep on top of things

Managing employees is hard enough when they’re in the office, so with remote work becoming more prevalent this is only becoming harder. Using a task tracker can be a great way to give your business flexible tools to allocate tasks, manage progress and keep projects on track.

How can companies manage their contractors effectively?

Casual employees and contractors are harder to manage in these uncertain times. They don’t have sick entitlement under the National Employment Standards, but it’s up to your business how you handle your contractors who may become sick from coronavirus or need to self-isolate.

Ensuring that you help your contractors manage their workload, keep on top of business admin and continue to work, could be essential to their livelihoods and also essential to running your business and keeping the economy afloat on whole.

Here’s how you can manage contractors effectively during the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Read the workplace laws

First things first, it’s a good idea to refresh your memory on what contractors are entitled to and how your business should handle contractors by law. Knowing what people are entitled to will help you negotiate their work from home terms with full transparency.

  • Assess whether they can work remotely

Ideally, contractors would be able to work remotely, however we all know that in many industries this simply isn’t possible. Assess whether their work can be completed remotely whilst they may be self-isolating and consider using software that allows you to task manage if they are going to be working remotely.

  • Deal with contractors transparently and effectively

Keep on top of everything with software that allows your contractors to login and supply any relevant information you may need whilst they work away from a manager. Reducing data entry and keeping on top of contractor work should be a priority in order to ensure time is not wasted.

Managing a workforce in the face of a pandemic isn’t going to be easy, but with some smart thinking and effective tools, your business can get through this phase. For more information, take a look at the official government guidelines on Covid-19.

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