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The People Challenge: How to Manage Your Team Through COVID-19 Disruptions

Unfortunately with the Omicron variant now in New Zealand, many businesses are going to be facing disruptions within their team as colleagues have to self-isolate due to catching COVID-19 or being considered a close contact. Now more than ever we need to draw on those super human skills we’ve developed in year one and two of the pandemic and get the juggling of staff resources and financial outcomes right.

With this in mind we have put together some ideas and advice on how to manage your team through these COVID-19 disruptions, to help you navigate through the Omicron phase of the pandemic and also a quick guide to what financial support is available to businesses with employees having to isolate.

Set Up To Work From Home: For those companies that can work from home when needed, ensure that everything is set up ready for this to seamlessly happen. While you’ve probably done this before in other phases of the pandemic, now’s the time to make improvements and ensure you have it running at it’s optimum. Do your employees have easy access to file sharing systems, essential software and video conferencing solutions? Will you need to provide them with laptops or specialist technology? These are all things to be considered and prepared for.

Dual Rosters: If working from home isn’t always feasible, consider splitting your team into smaller groups or bubbles and roster days when each group can come into the workplace at separate times to reduce the number of people interacting at any one time. This will also help keep a sense of community between colleagues as they are able to interact with other in their bubble. Additional note: Sanitise: A reminder to all staff to ensure excellent sanitation practices are in play from hands, to all surfaces.

Consider What is Key to Keep Your Business Going: The main thing is to keep your team safe whilst also keeping your business running, so determine the key skills, tasks and roles needed. Can you work on reduced hours or a reduced service? If you work in hospitality would you be able to run a collection-only service on those days when the number of staff is reduced? Are there long-term projects that could be put on the backburner so that you can focus on the key daily tasks for the time being? Start to build up a contingency plan so that if you are faced with a reduced team you can easily transition into a new way of working.

Prepare Your Work Team For Their Roles & Responsibilities Changing: Discuss with your team how roles and responsibilities might change during times when your workforce is reduced. Come up with a plan of how key roles can be temporarily covered if people are at home isolating. Make sure there is a record of important processes in case you’re unable to reach people whilst they’re isolating or if it is a key role that needs specific skills consider training up staff for those important tasks.

Reach Out to Freelancers and Temporary Staff: Connect with freelancers and temporary staff so that if you need to call on additional workers you already have those relationships in place. This is particularly important if your team is unable to work from home. It’s a tough labour market our there so having a range of options is a definite game changer.

Financial Support for Employers

With New Zealand currently operating in the red framework businesses are able to apply for the following financial support schemes:

  • Short-Term Absence Payment: This is available to employers and those who are self-employed who are awaiting COVID-19 test results at home. To be eligible, workers must be unable to work from home. A one-off payment of $359 is paid to each eligible worker and each worker can only apply once in any 30-day period.

  • Leave Support Scheme: This is available for both employed and self-employed workers who are having to work at home because they are isolating due to COVID-19 and they are unable to work at home. $600 a week is paid to full-time workers and $359 to part-time workers.

  • Small Business Cash Flow Loan Scheme (SBCS): The Small Business Cash Flow Loan Scheme provides assistance up to a maximum of $100,00 to businesses employing 50 or fewer full-time employees and this includes sole traders and self-employed businesses.

  • Events Transition Support Payment Scheme: This government-backed scheme covers non-recoverable costs incurred by organisers of major events who have had to cancel them due to COVID-19.

For help with business planning or for advice about the financial support available during the Red level framework get in contact with Grace Team Accounting on 07 578 5416

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