Caring for employees is probably the single most effective strategy that companies can do to boost productivity, morale, and loyalty even during trying times in a business. Today, many companies continue to reel from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, businesses, and on the lives of millions of people around the planet. In fact, even the largest corporations and decades-old firms have not been immune to the bane of bankruptcies and decline in profit. Yet, in a humanitarian and heroic gesture, many companies still fight back by innovating business operations while extending assistance to their employees.
Traditionally, companies both large and small extend various privileges and benefits to employees, including those that are mandated by law and others purely based on company programs that promote employee welfare. Insurance policies are a given while other companies even offer competent auto accident attorneys for staff who figure into a vehicle-related incident, including those who work in the transportation and logistics industry.
There many other ways to express the company’s concern and gratitude to its employees, especially for staff that continue to brave the threat of viral infection by going to the workplace. Here are other ideas to help nurture and support employees who are Working From Home (WFH):
Free COVID-19 Test and Teleconsultations
One of the most practical and necessary ways of extending assistance to employees is to provide them with free COVID-19 tests, or at least, a subsidy for them to take the examination at a qualified laboratory or hospital. At present, there are two main kinds of COVID-19 tests that can be undertaken: a viral test and the antibody test.The viral or diagnostic test aims to detect whether a person has an active viral infection. A molecular examination and RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription PolymeraseChain Reaction) seeks to identify any genetic material from a pathogen which includes a virus.The antibody test, on the other hand, detects whether a person’s antibodies levels are high which could mean the presence of a virus or another pathogen. The antibody test, however, does not accurately indicate whether a person has been infected with the novel corona-virus.
Not all people need to be tested, of course. Those who show symptoms of COVID-19 and people who had been in direct physical contact with COVID-19 positive patients are the ones that need to be prioritized for testing. Indeed, offering these tests is one clear way of expressing the company’s utmost concern for the lives and welfare of employees and their families. In addition, companies may also consider subsidies for teleconsultations so that employees can get check-ups and speak to doctors and health care providers online.
Wi-Fi Bill Subsidy
Another practical method of implementing employee welfare programs is to include a Wi-Fi subsidy for personnel who are Working From Home (WFH). Since the staff would be using their own homes, electric supply, and in some cases, their own computer or laptop — companies would do well to offer covering part of or the entire bill for the employees’ wi-fi service.
Online Health and Fitness Programs
Promoting employees’ health and fitness is a sure way of boosting productivity and employee morale. When employees are healthy and fit, the number of illness-related absences and tardiness decrease. When the staff undergo wellness programs, they are significantly happier and physically stronger to take on work-related tasks either at the worksite or at home.
Right now, there are a number of quality online health and fitness programs that companies can subscribe to for the benefit of top management and staff. Done via live video streaming or recorded exercise videos, employees can put on their workout attire and follow along as a group or in their own time. This is, in fact, common practice in Japan where several minutes of a working day is set aside to do group exercises. Called raijo taisouor radio exercise in English, Japanese employees in full unison listen to a radio-broadcasted exercise routine together with their supervisors, managers, and peers. Using internet technology and video streaming, companies with multi-branches can even organize a mass fitness program for employees working at home or at different work locations. This builds a sense of camaraderie, fun, and optimum health for all people in the company.
Strengthening Social Connections Online
Company social events can also be done live via online streaming. This is advisable to allow employees to reconnect with their office friends and overcome the isolation and loneliness of self-quarantine. The psycho-social and emotional well-being of employees need to be prioritized alongside efforts to promote their physical fitness. A short, informal program can be organized per department so that they can enjoy the downtime and help manage their stress. It would also help if the CEO or President of the company would give a short pep talk or even do a special number that would make the event fun and enjoyable.
These are only a few ideas on building a stronger online community composed of top management, mid-level managers, and rank-and-file. Using internet and communications technology, companies can truly show their concern and thankfulness to employees all throughout their years of service to the company. Now, in the midst of a pandemic, companies will do well to initiate programs and activities that will keep relationships in their company beneficial and resilient regardless of the challenges faced by the business and the economy.