The COVID-19 pandemic absolutely destroyed everything we thought we knew about how workplaces should function. Open floor plans, crowded conference rooms, and buffet-style lunch setups now seem almost quaint after a year and a half of social distancing. Some things will undoubtedly go back to the way they were as we emerge from the pandemic. But there are three key areas of your employee handbook that you need to update permanently.
Remote Work Policy
Remote work was already becoming a popular option before COVID hit, but it’s been the reality for legions of employees since then. And a stunning majority of people would like to keep it that way, at least on a part-time basis. While there are certainly many jobs that require full-time, in-person attendance, consider offering a remote option whenever possible.
In addition to meeting employee desires, this also has a very practical side. Remote employees can work when they’re mildly ill without exposing the rest of the office to their germs. And they don’t have to take a day off if they have childcare concerns.
Remember the pre-COVID days when showing up at the office when sick was considered a sign of strength and fortitude? Now no one wants to risk being around someone who could be carrying the virus. Even without symptoms, those who have been exposed to someone with COVID may have burned through their PTO time sitting in quarantine.
What if you were to implement an unlimited PTO policy? This was once a radical idea utilized only by a handful of forward-thinking companies. But now it’s caught on as a more fair way to deal with the realities of COVID quarantines. Although you might worry about such a policy being abused, research shows that employees of companies with these policies actually tend to take fewer days off per year.
Include Inclusive Language
Not necessarily because of COVID, but during it’s period, inclusion and diversity have become a top-of-mind issue for many job seekers – especially those who are younger and new to the modern workplace. Being public with diversity programs, showing support of and inclusion of all people is important. Make sure you use inclusive and diverse language in job descriptions and handbooks.
Personal Tech Etiquette
It’s been a year and a half of videoconferencing, and one thing has become quite clear: some people are just not good at figuring out how to successfully use these tools. Make it easier on everyone in the future by creating clear written policies that establish such basics as which tools to use when, how to log in, and even what the dress code is for video meetings.
COVID changed work forever, and has changed many trends in the staffing world, but revisiting just three sections of your employee handbook can help prepare you and your employees for future crises. Rethink remote work, PTO, and personal tech etiquette now, and you will be ahead of the game.
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