The province-wide lockdown in Ontario has changed the way many companies do business, and it has presented some unique challenges for employers.
Whether you are an employer of essential workers who are feeling the stress of coming in to work every day in the midst of a pandemic, or whether you’ve got the challenge of managing a team that is working from home, it is important to acknowledge the difficulties that your employees may be having and take steps to mitigate them.
Here are 5 tips for employers during this time of lockdown.
5 Tips for Employers During Lockdown
1. Nurture a Team Environment
Especially if you are managing a team that is working from home, it can be easy for your employees to start to feel isolated from each other.
It is important to foster a team mindset during this time. You may need to arrange for more frequent face-to-face staff meetings via platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Additionally, you might want to invest in project management tools like Trello or Monday to help your team stay connected.
And remember, not every Zoom meeting has to be a working meeting. You could also implement something like an optional Friday staff lunch over Zoom during which your team can simply socialize for a while.
2. Ensure proper Health and Safety Measures are In Place
As an employer, you are both morally and legally obligated to protect your employees with the appropriate health and safety measures. If you have essential workers on-site, this is going to mean ensuring that not only your industry health and safety standards are being met, but also that COVID-19 health and safety standards are being met such as physical distancing, the wearing of masks, and regular sanitization.
Even if your employees are working from home, there are still steps that you can take to help keep them safe and healthy. For example, suggesting that they use ergonomic seating, regular breaks and exercises as well as providing them with information about correct work posture can help to prevent injuries.
3. Don’t Neglect Mental Health
While many employers are rightly focusing on taking steps to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, it is also important that they don’t neglect the toll that lockdown may be taking on their employees’ mental well-being.
You can help to support your employees’ mental health by being transparent about company decisions and why they are being made, promoting healthy habits, providing resources (such as EAP) and ensuring your employees know how to access those resources.
4. Keep Lines of Communication Open
Keeping the lines of communication open is critical particularly during a time of lockdown to help ensure that your employees feel connected. Regular calls, emails, and face-to-face Zoom meetings to keep everyone informed are important. Equally important, is that employees feel comfortable getting in touch with you when they need to ask questions or share concerns.
5. Be Flexible
Finally, it is important to recognize that employees may be facing a number of other pressures right now. They may have young children struggling with their online learning; they may be wrestling with Grade 11 math to help their teenager; or they may be running errands for their elderly parents who are afraid to leave the house.
As a result, as an employer you may have to do your best to make the necessary accommodations such as allowing for flexible work schedules.
Contact Minken Employment Law today
Do you have questions or require advice on your legal responsibilities as an employer during lockdown? We can help. Minken Employment Lawyers is your source for expert advice and advocacy on today’s employment law issues. Contact us today to arrange a consultation with one of our lawyers or call us at 905-477-7011 to schedule a consultation. Sign up for our newsletter to receive up-to-date Employment Law information, including new legislation and Court decisions impacting your workplace.
Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
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