Coronavirus at Work: Keep Communicating, Preparing and Moving Forward

When I saw the breaking news in my Facebook feed, I knew what would be coming soon to our own community. The headline read UCSC cancels classes, Santa Cruz County declares emergency over coronavirus. The elementary school where our children go isn’t closed yet, but most likely will be soon, for who knows how long; many schools elsewhere are closing because of the illness. Our emergency declaration will be in place for at least 60 days. We’ll be able to deal with it because of our flexible jobs, but many families will struggle with having to miss work to care for their children.

And now, every hour everything changes. Everything is canceled. Everything is postponed. Workplaces are implementing mobility and travel restrictions. Telling employees to work from home if they can. No attending events with more than 50 people. No onsite events. Moving in-person interviews to virtual ones. Onboarding new employees offsite. Wash your hands all the time. Don’t touch your face any of the time. Social distancing and self-imposed quarantine are becoming the new normal to mitigate spread. And all this for at least the next 30 to 60 (or more) days.

This is playing out in communities all over the world. And not without good reason – this is serious, and now it’s a pandemic. According to the CDC:

The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully known. Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death. While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a report external icon out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.

Recruiting and HR leaders from our CandE community of employers big and small across industries have been sharing their concerns as well as helpful tips and resources for their peers. The key thing many companies are recommending is to keep all communication channels open. For employees and candidates. Things are changing hourly, not just daily. Keeping everybody informed, that these are the steps we’re taking now, and as those change, to notify them further of what’s next – again, keeping communication even more crystal clear than ever is going to be critical for employers. Some are recording daily updates and webcasts that they’re sharing with their employees.

More and more companies are mandating working from home if possible. Especially if employees are sick – DO NOT COME TO WORK! And only mission-critical business travel is being allowed. Video interviewing has never seen such adoption until now. New hires are completely onboarded remotely. While some industries are still hiring and doing regular business, even with these disruptions, others are slowing down because business has slowed dramatically. The economic impact on industries like hospitality, airlines, entertainment, retail and more is already undeniable and will get worse. Not to mention the impact on hourly works and gig workers.

Again, this is changing by the hour, and it’s best to keep yourself, your colleagues and your candidates informed. And keep supporting each other and each other’s businesses. 

Also, please take a minute and complete our latest Coronavirus at Work survey so we can help others better understand what’s happening at your companies:

You’ll also find important resources from our CandE community below that you can share internally and with your own networks. Send us other recommendations if you have them.

Keep communicating, preparing and moving forward.
Chat Bot loaded with coronavirus resources and answers to general questions
CDC – Center for Disease Control and Prevention You can sign up for email alerts from the CDC to the facts and not speculation.
Search by state to specific state information
WHO-World Health Organization

Some healthcare organizations have instituted a short questionnaire given to patients coming to offices/facilities that contains three questions and a privacy/HIPAA statement.

The questions are:

  • have you traveled to high risk areas
  • have you been exposed to any one with COVID-19 symptoms
  • have you experience any COVID-19 symptoms.

We will keep you updated with anything else we find and any other updates, thank you.
Kevin Grossman
Talent Board

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