Prepare your Small Business and Employees for the Effects of COVID-19

May 20, 2020

During an infectious disease outbreak, such as the current outbreak of COVID-19, small business owners must prepare for disruption in their business, as well as their employees’ health and safety. The following steps are recommended to protect employees and prepare your business:

  • Identify a workplace coordinator who will be responsible for COVID-19 issues and their impact at the workplace
  • Examine policies for leave, telework, and employee compensation that are flexible and nonpunitive
  • Review your leave policies with all employees and provide information about available employee assistance services
  • Identify essential employees and business functions and critical inputs such as raw materials, suppliers, subcontractor services/products, and logistics required to maintain business operations
  • Prepare business continuity plans for significant absenteeism, supply chain disruptions, or changes in the way you need to conduct business
  • Establish an emergency communications plan, including identifying key contacts, chain of communications, and processes for tracking and communicating about business and employee status
  • Share your response plans with employees and clearly communicate expectations

Healthy employees are crucial to a healthy business. Here are 10 ways you can help protect them:

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home
  • Develop policies for scheduling and telework (if possible), and create leave policies
  • Promote etiquette for coughing, sneezing, and handwashing
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning
  • Provide education and training materials
  • Have conversations with employees about their concerns
  • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about their plans
  • Plan to implement practices to minimize face-to-face contact between employees
  • Consider the need for travel and explore alternatives
  • If an employee becomes sick at work, separate them from others and send them home immediately

For more detailed guidance, please refer to the CDC guidelines for small businesses and employees.

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