6 Tips for California Small Businesses Facing COVID-19 Concerns
The COVID-19 pandemic has put many employers and employees smack dab in the middle of an uncharted territory. Many individuals in both groups find themselves with more questions than answers. As employers try and arm themselves with all the information they need to answer employee questions accurately and honestly, they must keep several key tips in mind.
You Are Not in This Alone
Even though companies are facing unique and unprecedented questions, it’s worth noting that they aren’t the only ones in this predicament. Many other small businesses are facing similar questions and complaints from their staff.
It is worth reaching out to other small business owners, community resources or organizations such a local chamber of commerce, or even statewide associations to see how others with similar situations are finding guidance. There is a lot of information – seemingly coming from a variety of sources – floating around right now, which makes it more critical than ever to sift through and obtain accurate information.
Many Resources Exist that Can Address your Current Questions
In this time of high uncertainty, it’s important to note that there are many resources that one can turn to with questions and concerns. These resources may be governmental, such as the state of California’s informational page regarding COVID-19 for employers and employees and resources page for employers. In addition, many cities, counties, and other governmental entities such as the Department of Labor have a plethora of guidance; which can be a valuable source for information.
Associations, such as the US Small Business Administration have also published guidance with questions and answers, as well as a variety of resources. In many instances, the specific question an employee or employer has may have already been addressed.
Know How to Identify Good Sources from Bad Ones
And while there are many reputable and valuable informational sources, there are equally as many negative sources who spread misinformation, whether intentionally or not. Before accepting any guidance or information that is not from a governmental or reputable association site, it is worth taking a few minutes to vet the source.
Embrace Flexibility and Adaptability
The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed lives across America in the span of just a few weeks (arguably, days), and it is likely to continue shaping the changing circumstances that each of us face individually, and as business owners, over the course of the next few weeks, and possibly even months.
Additionally, the economic fallout from the pandemic will likely linger for far longer than the virus itself. Congressional actions, including support for business owners, have been taken to address the need for more resources to assist everyone during this time – and additional actions may be taken depending upon the duration and severity of the pandemic.
The bottom line is that circumstances, information, and resources are changing rapidly. As communities face the challenges that come with shelter-in-place orders and quarantines – and will eventually face the challenges that come when these orders are lifted – it’s crucial to remain flexible and adaptable to evolve as the events unfold.
Stay Abreast of Changing Circumstances
These changing circumstances highlight the importance of keeping on top of the information. Some of the resources that are available for employers and employees are time-sensitive. Additionally, some loan and grant opportunities are being issued on a first-come, first-served basis, which means that if you are one of the first to learn about it, you can increase your chances of accessing the resource.
Similarly, you need to ensure that you are providing the latest and most accurate information to your employees. Using outdated information is easy to do when things are changing so rapidly, but it can put you and your team at a severe disadvantage.
Prioritize the Needs and Safety of Your Team
Understanding how to keep your company and its employees safe during this time underscores all of the other tips listed. This must be a top priority for every business owner to ensure that their business survives the pandemic and can resume functioning when some normalcy has returned.
Keeping yourself and your employees safe often means knowing how to answer their questions about actions they can take to minimize their risk. For many businesses, such as restaurants, it is offering an opportunity to change their business model to a carry-out or delivery only model. If this is an option for your business, it should definitely be considered, provided you can safely implement measures that protect everyone. Or it may require devising creative telecommuting practices so that employees can work safely from the comfort of their homes.
COVID-19 is unprecedented, and it is having a global impact on all economies and industries. Despite the high levels of uncertainty and anxiety during this time, business owners can arm themselves with the knowledge needed to answer any employee questions, plan for the effects of the pandemic (and beyond), and keep their employees as safe as possible.
CA HR Services specializes in working with small and medium-sized companies to help develop legal, efficient and appropriate HR processes and procedures that meet state and federal labor law requirements. Contact them today 858-391-6601.