We're not oblivious to the fact that changes in your resourcing may be required if the situation continues to worsen. So what steps should you be looking at now?
We're suggesting that you look at your resource as a whole and identify:
1. How many people can you have working in your office at any one time, ensuring there is adequate social distance (and where possible they're working in different spaces)?
Most office spaces require employees to sit elbow-to-elbow; opposite each other; in neighbouring cubicles - to ensure a minimum of 2 metres between each employee, how many individuals could you have in the space at any one time? If you have private meeting rooms or offices, could you set these up at working areas allowing employees to work in their own space?
2. Your Directors/Managers are there to support you in keeping the business running, so don't have them in at the same time - set-up remote working for them and have them on a rotation so that they are going into the office completely independently.
If you have different teams, how many Managers would you need to manage the people (considering you've just reduced your numbers)? Have your managerial team set-up a shared rota between them, reducing all meetings to phone or video - everyone needs to be aware of on-going expectations and targets during this period. Work as a unit to determine what can be reasonably expected and how you expect this to be managed.
3. Are you set-up for any level of remote-working? How can you take steps now to have more employees working from home?
If you use secure systems, how can you grant access to these from private PCs? If your team has to be available on the phone for Customer Service calls - can you provide cheap and cheerful "work mobiles" for the employees to be responsible for which have the office lines diverted? Could an Office Manager become responsible for handing out information as and when required? All options need to be identified to provide as much scope as possible for employees to work from home.
4. Most companies have never had this many employees requiring home-working, and if we're honest, the flexibility has been avoided by most. In this situation we're being forcibly pushed to "figure it out" - so how do you manage home-workers?
Agreeing expectations and targets on a one-to-one basis is the best way forward, then there is a thread of accountability between yourself (or your Managers) and each employee. This can allow for daily, weekly or monthly monitoring - as you decide. Home-working comes with an element of ultra-flexibility, allowing employees to work when they want. Having clear expectations about availability or the flexibility you desire is key. For example, the Greenburn team works ultra-flexibility all the time, which means we can both remote work or work from the office, as well as work when we want - the rule has always been: make sure your work is done, keep an eye on your emails all day and respond as required, be available on your phone all day for any calls.
5. Most of our clients don't have "open to the public" offices, however, we would recommend closing down even the idea of this which allows your team more security in their space.
If face-to-face meetings are essential, use an "appointment only" service - and where possible find a route to the meeting room which avoids communal areas or staff working areas. Social distancing must be adhered to, handshakes must be avoided and antibac gel should be made available. However, where possible this should be avoided completely - as you cannot guarantee that each individual is taking the same precautions.
See our blog "Resource Reorganisation Cont." for suggestions on how you can alternatively alleviate your "people" costs prior to considering staff redundancies.