There is no doubt that times are uncertain during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both employer and employees alike are worried about their work and personal situations. With fear on the rise and the increasing amount of businesses being forced to shut, there are a few things you can do to safeguard your business.
Although taking precautions at this time is necessary, implementing measures to ensure your business can survive on the other side of the pandemic is critical. Ensuring a safe and functioning workplace is available once the business can continue as usual is paramount to longevity right now.
Ensure a safe working environment
During the time of social distancing, having all employees within the office space may be impractical or unsafe. Consider working from home arrangements for employees whose presence within the office is not paramount to business operations. Allowing a few employees to continue administrative and managerial tasks within the office can allow for effective communication and management of employees working from home. This includes ensuring all mail is attended to and assets are distributed accordingly.
- Implementing strict health regulations as advised by NSW health will ensure a safe working environment in line with COVID-19 precautions.
- Implement safe hygiene practices
- Display posters and advice on how to wash hands properly and sneeze/cough safely
- Ensure desks of those remaining in the office are 1.5m apart
- Provide necessary materials to ensure a safe environment e.g. masks, hand sanitiser
Discuss rental negotiations
No definite advice has yet been given to business owners or banks in regards to rental negotiations. These conversations must happen between tenant and landlord for effective compliance. Offers such as payment of 50% of rent during effected months will ensure rental payments do not back up on the other end of the pandemic. Although delaying payment of rent may seem like an easy saving of cash now, these payments will back up later on. To ensure a safeguard of your business, discuss negotiations on rental payments which benefit both parties.
Communicate the process
During these coming months, uncertainty is high. With individuals situations and emotional investment during COVID-19, information is power. Communicate effectively with employees to ensure they are aware of the entire situation. Employees are more likely to be cooperative and compliant when they understand their positioning. Through implementing a COVID-19 policy, employees are aware of their rights and obligations. All information is transparent and employees will have a source to go to for further information when unsure of their next steps. This will also give the business grounds to stand on if employees dispute later on.
Although restrictions are tight and government rules are constantly changing, there are steps and measures employers can implement to safeguard the business. For an expert consultation with our leading lawyers, speak with GLG legal for further information and advice.