Responding to Slowdowns Caused by Coronavirus

The Coronavirus (Covid-19) is impacting the travel and hotel industry, restaurants, events, and many other services to varying degrees — with ripple effects to virtually every other industry. Will these effects be short-term or long-term? No one knows.

Before the virus, the market was in excellent shape, so we can expect a faster recovery once the Coronavirus starts falling off or a vaccine is created. The question remains, what do you do in the short term if your business is impacted?

At HR Service, Inc., we are receiving many inquiries from organizations asking questions regarding working in a remote location, as well as those looking at the possibility of layoffs or furloughs.

First, avoid panicking and making rash decisions. Given the condition of the stock market and low unemployment rate before recent impacts, responding with reductions in force may not be the best solution at this time. You will need your team once things get moving again. Second, keep in mind that federal and/or state assistance in the form of paid leave and other financial aid may be forthcoming, which could impact your decision.

Telecommuting is happening across the country, as many employers take steps to protect their employees from the virus. We created two excellent resources: Finding Success While Working Remotely and Telecommuting Agreement to help with these efforts.

If your business has slowed due to the virus, consider the following options to keep staff engaged, busy, productive, and impactful to your organization, before making a rushed layoff decision.

  • Catch up on lower priority task items that never seem to get done. They can potentially boost your business offerings and
  • Create “growth plans” and “how to grow” in a market impacted by the
  • Involve your employees–which helps them stay connected and improve the morale of the business.
  • Allow or request reduced, temporary work hours for some
  • Consider short-term non-matching retirement plans, if cash flow is an
  • Come up with new and creative ideas, such as:
    • how to compete more effectively
    • create new strategies on efficiency
    • brainstorm how to set your company apart from your competition
  • Volunteer your extra time; it feels great to give
  • Consider a temporary shutdown or furlough where employees can use their saved paid time off and apply for unemployment while keeping their job

The suggested solutions may not work in every case, and some of you may need to consider a reduction of force. If you elect to go this route, consider severance assistance, separation agreements, and outplacement assistance to help team members make a positive transition.

By Ken Spencer, President & CEO, HR Service, Inc. https://hrserviceinc.com | solutions@hrserviceinc.com | 833.685.8400

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