COVID-19 substantially altered the workplace, requiring many companies to revise policies on the fly. While the pandemic is still a concern, the landscape is changing. As a result, it’s wise for employers to review their employee handbooks to see what permanent updates are necessary.
Ultimately, an employee handbook only provides value to workers and employers if the information therein is accurate and reflects current conditions. If you aren’t sure what changes might be worthwhile, here is a look at some post-COVID employee handbook updates you might want to consider.
Remote Work Updates
If your organization either altered existing remote work policies due to the pandemic or instituted new telecommuting options in response to COVID-19, it’s time to ensure those changes are in the employee handbook. That can include anything from approval processes to dress codes for video meetings, ensuring all workers know precisely how they need to handle telecommuting.
Ultimately, many companies are choosing to allow remote work in some capacity over the long term. Since that’s the case, it’s best to formally outline how these programs work and any expectations relating to employee performance or the use of telecommuting technologies.
Sick Leave Changes
While COVID is less of a concern today, it’s still a factor and likely will remain one for the next few years. As a result, it’s wise to add formal COVID-related sick leave policies to your employee handbook to account for the somewhat anomalous way those who fall ill need to act.
Include details about what’s expected if an employee exhibits symptoms and how leave applies to related absences. Additionally, clarify what workers need to do before they return to work to ensure there’s no risk to their colleagues. By doing so, employees have a process to follow, removing any confusion from the equation.
If your company has expectations regarding employee vaccinations in response to COVID-19, add those policies to your employee handbook. This allows you to clarify the organization’s stance, reasoning, and expectations, as well as discuss penalties for non-compliance.
Make sure you include which vaccinations are required and what proof the company needs to see. Additionally, outline processes for exemption requests, ensuring those with a legitimate reason know how to proceed and what to expect in regards to potential outcomes.
Health and Safety Updates
Health and safety were front and center during the pandemic, and many companies developed processes designed to protect their employees. Review any changes that were made due to COVID and see if the resulting procedures should be added to the handbook. This can include cleaning procedures, hazard reporting, or anything else worth adding. That ensures every employee knows how to act in ways that ensure their health and safety, as well as the wellness of the entire workforce.
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