Start Monday

Working together through the Coronavirus

Proactive steps employers can take
Get the latest information, advice and guidelines on COVID-19
With the rapidly evolving global Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, employers are wondering how they can ensure the health and safety of their employees. We have included some measures that you can implement to ensure your employees stay safe at work.
1. Protect employees from exposure in the workplace
Many businesses have already made extensive changes to their work practices in order to minimise the impact of the Coronavirus. While every business is different and some may require additional risk-limiting measures, it is important that only official sources and recommendations are considered:

The above resources will provide you with practical measures on how you can make your workplace as safe as possible.
2. Review HR policies & compliance
In light of anticipated changes to employment structures, existing policies should now be reviewed.

Company policies that may need to be reviewed include: attendance, sick pay, annual leave, compensation and benefits (including health insurance) and employee data privacy.
    3. Provide remote working, where possible
    While many businesses in the motor industry - in particular in retail - require employees to be physically present, remote working should be encouraged, if travelling to work and interacting with the public could increase the risk of exposure to the virus.

    If your company does not have a formal work-from-home practice, it is important to create and share a remote working policy. When reviewing remote working options, consider the following:
    • Is the employee eligible by the nature of their job?
    • Do employees have the necessary equipment or software installed at home? (laptop, phone etc.)
    • What are the conditions of employees' home or alternative place of work (noise, internet connection etc.)
    • Are there any data privacy, encryption or cybersecurity concerns?
    • What video conferencing tool/s will we use to replace face-to-face meetings?

    Recommendations for those working remotely include:
    • Choose a quiet and distraction-free working space
    • Have an internet connection that is adequate for the job
    • Adhere to break and attendance schedules agreed with employer
    • Maintain contact with fellow employees regarding remote working challenges
    4. Consider postponing face-to-face meetings and conferences
    With the majority of conferences and events across Ireland already cancelled or postponed, employers should regularly consult the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and consider limiting business travel to impacted areas.

    To replace in-person meetings, either internally, with employees or externally with visitors or customers, encourage the use of videoconferencing when possible. There is an array of videoconferencing software available including; Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting, Facetime among others.
    5. Have one central, real-time source of company updates
    With events unfolding at a rapid rate and the picture surrounding the Coronavirus changing on a daily basis, it is crucial that employees receive regular updates. It is essential that your company only obtains recommendations from official sources.

    Communicating with all employees in real-time with regular, coordinated, factual updates about infection control and company policy regarding remote working and other changes, is essential during this time.

    This communication should come from one company source so as to not have misleading messages from multiple sources and may come in the form of text, phone or email.
    6. Provide ongoing support
    For employers switching to remote working for the first time, it may seem like a daunting task. In particular, for those employees who are normally onsite, it is important that you check in with them regularly and support them in the transition to home working.

    Consider sharing remote working best practices (there are an abundance of resources online) that will help them assimilate to their new work environment. Also, if you are receiving a high volume of employee questions, consider sharing an FAQ document to proactively address key concerns.

    We hope you stay safe during this difficult time.
    Disclaimer: This post is intended as a general guide and should only be used as a reference. It is not a legal document and neither the author nor Start Monday will assume any legal liability that may arise from the use of this policy. Please obtain your own legal advice.