We’re going through economic carnage due to the closures required to slow the COVID-19 infection rate. Unfortunately, many small businesses were financially unable to survive the shutdown. More businesses will close when customers fail to return either because they are too afraid of risking infection or because they have changed how they buy things.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. A long list of “essential” businesses continued to operate during the shutdown. Aside from the obvious, such as hospitals and emergency responders, essential businesses include IT support companies, construction companies, waste management companies, grocery stores, and banks. Non-essential businesses offering internet-based sales and services have also done well during the closures.
As the economy re-opens, there are opportunities for employers and employees. For unemployed workers, this is an opportunity to change the trajectory of their careers. Many skills transfer across industries so this could be a chance to restart a career with a new employer. There will be opportunities because laid off workers may have found other jobs. In other instances, employees who have been working reduced work schedules may decide to stay part-time.
Whatever the reason, unemployed workers should step up their job searches now because competition will heat up quickly. At the end of July, unemployed workers receiving unemployment are scheduled to lose the federally funded $600 top-up of unemployment benefits. That top-up has allowed some lower income workers to make more money from unemployment than they did in their old low-paying jobs. When the extra money goes away, unemployed workers will need to look for jobs.
Meanwhile, businesses have an opportunity to pick up top-notch employees among the vast swathes of currently unemployed workers. Of course, for employers to capitalize, a few tasks must be done now.
- Rethink the back-to-the-office notion. If productivity and employee morale are good, maybe most employees should continue to work remotely.
- For those who most return to the office, create a safety policy that follows CDC guidelines for reducing the chances that employees will be exposed to the COVID-19 virus in the workplace.
- Demonstrate to current employees (and everyone they tell on social media) that the company takes safety seriously. That means senior managers need to wear a mask, use hand sanitizer and maintain social distance just like everyone else in the office.
- Ensure the company’s leave policies comply with federal law which allows employees to take paid sick leave for their own or a family member’s COVID-19 illness or when there is no child care available due to COVID-19.
- Be willing to prove to employees that they really are the company’s “talent” by investing in them. Training programs allow current employees to brush up on their skills and help new hires understand the company’s processes.
If your company has questions about how to complete all these tasks while keeping up with daily operations, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help. Whether it means answering HR questions or revising policies, we’re here as a resource for your team.
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