During a pandemic, the people you depend on to run your organizations are especially vulnerable. Here are a few strategies to ensure you’re supporting them. 

First, employees need the right tools to do their jobs. Some of you may already be familiar with remote work, but for those of you who had to go remote overnight, check out the aptly named, “Going Remote Overnight: Preparing for the Coronavirus.” If you’re already paying for the business version of Office 365, you’re already paying for collaboration tools that you may not know about. Finally, some companies are providing free remote working tools during the pandemic. 

Secondly, employees need to know what’s going on. Living with uncertainty is not something humans are great at, so communicate early, often and clearly. When you don’t know something, make that clear too. You don’t have to have all the answers, but you do have to be visible and communicate worst-case scenarios, probable scenarios, and best-case scenarios to your team, so they know what is likely coming. And, ask your team to be part of the solution – it gives them some control, and you will likely hear some really great ideas. 

Lastly, if the worst-case scenario happens, and you have to lay off people, you can do so compassionately and respectfully. Work with local chambers of commerce and workforce organizations to find out who is hiring in your area and do an in-house job fair for workers who are being laid off. Provide information about unemployment insurance, and other resources, with the knowledge that employees will likely forget what you’re telling them (make sure you have handouts), but they will remember that someone cared enough to provide support. Resources are available at http://oklahomaworks.gov/covid19/

All of these resources and many others are available on The Mettise Group site here http://mettise.com/covid-19-resources/