Ever since the year 2020 was launched, every day has been nothing but a reality remake of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. The year kicked off with bad news after bad news that it might have overshadowed some of the year’s greatest feats. And while the others were already silenced, the great king of this year’s villains is not quite done yet. Coronavirus or COVID-19 continues to rage on, several countries at the same time, leaving tracks of grave health risks, rising death tolls, and worldwide economic instability. It has also greatly affected the way people operate their businesses, which paved the way for a change in their rules and policies to keep their employees safe.
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What Is a Workplace Policy?
A workplace policy is a set of guidelines, standards, and limitations that every employee must uphold. This communicates a company’s values and expectations on how they expect their employees to behave. This policy covers not only behavioral conduct and obligation, but also legal compliance to avoid risks. Clearly written and comprehensive policies help the company relate to the employees their desired demeanor and performance that they should follow to achieve a harmonious work setting and professional relationships.
Among the purposes of a workplace policy include the emphasis on workplace safety. This policy takes into account every employee’s safety, be it personal or ethical, to make their working environment a comfortable space to be in. This is an important task that the human resource department should undertake, which makes it a highlight of its policies. Through this, the workplace policy would be able to establish a uniform standard of what’s right and what’s wrong when they’re within the premises.
Workplace policies vary for every collar worker in every industry. As an example, there will be a huge difference in a hospital’s workplace manual compared to that of a construction company. But some policies should be in every handbook. They are as follows:
1. Health and safety
2. Equipment use
3. Salary and Timekeeping
5. Meals and breaks
6. Anti-harassment and non-discrimination
7. Conduct and behavior
8. Leave and time off
9. Unique company policies
How To Create an Effective Workplace Policy During a Pandemic
With over 3 million cases worldwide and over 200,000 fatalities, the COVID-19 virus outbreak is deadset of making its record look good on history books. It continues to haunt the world at an alarming rate, and it’s putting everyone at risk, especially for those in the workforce. As a company, it’s your responsibility to take everyone’s safety into account. Here are some ways how you can incorporate safety measures on your workplace policy:
1. Educate Employees on Prevention
The first step to do in any health risk is to exercise prevention. As an employer, you should do your share of spreading the right prevention mechanism for your employees to help minimize the risk of them contracting the disease. Emphasize the need for strict hygiene and, when possible, hold a short information drive to promote it. You should also make sure that they follow preventive measures such as wearing masks and sanitizing by adding it to your list of rules.
2. Heed Authority Mandates
During these crucial times, it’s important to be aware and to follow orders from the government and official authorities. Your policy should abide with their rules and regulations, so keep posted for announcements information ads. If they issue closure, there’s nothing left to do but to follow orders. In the case of COVID-19, where social distancing is strongly suggested, you might want to establish ways on how employees can take care of your operations at home and not submit them to unemployment.
3. Enact Restrictions
Do not be afraid to issue restriction whenever you need to, even when an employee pleads otherwise. If an employee has been in a location where there’s a high number of virus infections or if he or she is experiencing the symptoms of the disease, you need to take precautionary measures and ask the employee to take a leave from work. Your human resource policy should be clear about this as part of your precautionary measures.
4. Address Benefits and Compensations
Because the issue of closures and unemployment is prominent during these times, you might want to address how they will be compensated or how the company can help them. For those who require their employees’ presence even during the quarantine period, they could also assess the possibility of granting a risk payment. Although these are not required labor pay and compensations, you might want to assess the situation, and if you have ample capacity, you can extend your considerations.
Who authors the workplace policy?
The HR department spearheads the writing of a workplace policy, but they need to consult the administration and the heads of other departments.
Does every company need a policy handbook?
No, but every employee should know about the rules, restrictions, as well as their rights.
Is a handbook legally binding?
Unless there’s a disclaimer that claims that it’s not, it can be legally binding as long as it meets all the requirements of a valid contract.
A shift in the work from home policy in times of crisis is necessary to address the needs of that certain period. The company has direct responsibility to look after not only its operation but also the manpower behind them. Bending your rules to manage the situation better is an indication that you value your people’s welfare.