COVID-19 changed many ways companies have had to run daily operations and manage employees. If you find yourself raising your hand, you’re not alone! To address the health and safety recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as many local and state mandates, employers have had to adjust the way workplaces operate.
When you review your employee handbook this year, you may want to make updates that officially accommodate policy changes you may have been following in 2020–2021.
Four policy changes to consider
To stay up to date with new ways you may have been running your business, consider amending the following policies in your employee handbook:
- Work-at-home. Many companies required those employees who were able to work remotely to do so. This helped reduce potential exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace and increase employee health and safety. But working from home creates concerns for managers and Human Resources regarding how to manage employees, maintain productivity and even keep company culture strong. As work-at-home arrangements have become permanent for many companies, building policies around remote work best practices can be helpful.
- Anti-discrimination. Not all jobs can be done from home, so employers who will now require previous remote workers to return to the workplace must think about possible discrimination claims. The Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws may require the reasonable accommodation of remote work if an employee’s disability prevents them from successfully working on-site. If you have any questions, it can help to consult your legal contact to ensure compliance with all laws and requirements.
- Online data security. Cybercriminals and data breaches are a concern for any company that relies on technology—which is every company these days. Employees working from home can access and use company data safely by using a VPN, rather than their own personal internet connection. Consider adding this update to your technology and editing your employee handbook accordingly.
- Health and safety. Of course, your business was faced with recommendations that ensure the health and safety of your workers during the pandemic. Adding rules around masking/personal protective equipment, social distancing and sanitation to your employee handbook, at least for the upcoming year as things begin to settle, will provide clarification to employees attempting to wrap their arms around everything that is expected of them in the workplace.
Odell Studner can help. When it comes to managing your company’s risk, we’re the experts you need. To learn more about our available services, contact us today!