Essential Infrastructure Business is now being designated and has created somewhat of a paradox in our homes, businesses and community. Many employees want to or must stay at home to care for family or to self-quarantine while also being employed by a presumptive Essential Infrastructure Business.
And, as business owners and leaders, we are working mightily to keep the business productive, profitable and viable so all of us have a place to work when the crisis has passed. We know the business needs all of the team.
Some Points to Clarify and Options to Pursue:
- Just because the business is deemed part of essential infrastructure does not necessarily mean every role is essential or required to work on the business premises.
- If the role can effectively be done remotely (from home) then, by all means, keep that person at home.
- If not already set up to support virtual work, then set up what you can and make a note that you need to investigate leveraging technology more in the future.
- At the very least, isolate the activities that must be done in-office and keep the employee on work-from-home status for the other remote suitable workload.
- Talk through the challenges with employees that see their role as less essential than you do.
- Everyone handles these stressful conditions differently; work to understand, accommodate and compromise. Avoid win-lose outcomes.
- Recognize they are not alone, as evidenced by hotlines being set up for employees that feel they are being held to on-premises work even though they do not view the business or their role as essential.
- Equip and encourage those whose role is essential and must be performed on-premises.
- Recognize the commitment and sacrifice it takes to go into work and drive away from a family at home that worries about your exposure to a very dangerous virus
- Some companies are already providing special appreciation in the form of premium pay.
- Others are including staggered shifts, and using vacated office space left by certain groups working from home and resetting workstations that provide for good social distancing.
- Openly exercise with diligence the hygiene and cleaning regimens; place special emphasis on the cleaning routines for shop, yard and equipment use environments, as well as the office.
- Call around regularly and randomly to virtually connect with your people.
- Encourage your people to do the same for each other; keep the team interactive.
- Set special team calls and virtual meetings; brief, purposeful and interactive.
- Things are moving fast, keep the team in the loop with whatever information you can share.
- Remind the team that we are all working to keep our business stable in a rough time.
- Your ability to connect, show appreciation and concern goes a long way.
Our Achilles colleagues take calls daily to work through issues on a case-by-case approach.
Keep in touch and keep looking up.