CORAL SPRINGS, FL - Many of our member businesses have reached out to us seeking support in light of the workplace and economic uncertainty we are currently facing due to the potential impacts of the coronavirus.
This message is to provide you with the best sources of information we have gathered as well as suggestions for you to mitigate the impact that your business may face. Although there is much uncertainty the Chamber believes we should take this threat seriously and we want to assist you to prepare your business/organization.
Here are some tips that we gathered for you:
- Workplace Cleanliness: Encourage frequent hand washing; make hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes available; provide free tissues; and encourage your team to find non-contact ways of greeting others and working together.
- Event Conduct: At events, please refrain from handshakes, hugs, cheek kisses, etc. Instead, do the Chamber elbow greeting!
- Sick Policies: To help prevent the spread of this or any virus, please support your employees in staying home if they are sick. You may need to review your paid time off/sick time policies if they do not allow the flexibility or financial support your employees need to comply. Also, learn who on your team may have responsibility to care for others, should circumstances require it.
- Remote Work Policies: If you are able to consider remote work as an option, and don't already have a remote work policy, it may be time to develop such a policy with input from your IT provider. Since many workplaces cannot allow remote work, consider instead how you may shift or rotate schedules.
- Understand Your Employer Obligations: You are legally obligated to provide a safe workplace and to make accommodations for those with disabilities. Protecting your workplace and team from the spread of Coronavirus is no different.
Here is guidance from OSHA: Getting the Workplace Ready for COVID-19
Here is guidance from EEOC: Pandemic Preparedness and the ADA
- Make a Plan for Reduced or Interrupted Operations: Prepare your business and customers for disruptions in operations, whether it be from changes in consumer behavior, supply chain issues, or a large portion of your workforce being ill. Ensure that you have access to emergency funding or a line of credit should you have a significant disruption in operations.
- Examine Your Supply Chain: Large manufacturers are already examining their supply chains in impacted areas to minimize disruptions. Consider whether any of your suppliers are located in regions with significant impacts, and whether your shipping times may be lengthened - with the goal of maintaining necessary inventory levels to support your business operations.
- Communications Plan: Have a point person on your staff who will take the lead in keeping your information current, addressing staff concerns, and communicating updates to your team.
- Use Your Professional Associations for Support: Many professional networks and organizations are offering webinars and other resources for employers. Make use of these opportunities!
- Get Updates Regularly: Ensure you are checking back with numerous sources regularly for the most up to date guidance and information regarding the spread of this virus.
More resources are included below for your convenience! Be well, friends.
The CDC has the most resources for all groups, but specifically speaks to how businesses should prepare for this outbreak. "All employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from COVID-19 while ensuring continuity of operations. During a COVID-19 outbreak, all sick employees should stay home and away from the workplace, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene should be encouraged, and routine cleaning of commonly touched surfaces should be performed regularly."
"All employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from the Coronavirus while ensuring continuity of operations. Download these guides created by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which are based on information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to learn more about how employers and employees can prepare for and address the impacts of the Coronavirus."
Business As Usual...but you can help protect us all
The Chamber is moving forward business as usual for the time being - meaning our operations are normal, and our events schedule is moving forward as planned. We will be in touch if anything changes.
However, we're asking you to support efforts to stem the spread of this virus or other communicable diseases by avoiding shaking hands, hugging, and kissing at our gatherings for the time being - please find alternate ways to greet each other.
In addition to washing your hands frequently and managing your coughing/sneezing wisely, you can help keep everyone safe and slow the spread of germs in public spaces by avoiding direct contact with others.
Please remember that while you may be comfortable and believe that the risk is low, others may not; additionally, those with friends or family at higher risk of serious health impacts may feel pressure to shake hands or hug in public - which could make them feel uncomfortable, rather than welcome.
Thank you in advance for your support, and for respecting the personal space of those in our network!
Cindy Brief is president and CEO of Coral Springs Coconut Creek Regional Chamber.