human resources, Misc, Professional Employer Organization (PEO) Services, Uncategorized

How Employee Handbooks Have Changed Through COVID-19

Employee handbooks are an essential tool for employers to communicate policies and expectations, comply with legal requirements, mitigate risk, and promote employee engagement. We’re starting to see how the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered employee handbooks in the past few years, and it’s likely these changes will persist in the future.

Remote work policies

One of the most significant changes in employee handbooks has been the inclusion of remote work policies. The pandemic has forced many companies to adopt remote work, and this shift is likely to continue through hybrid models. A survey by Gartner, Inc. found that a rigid and inflexible approach to on-site work will produce below-average productivity. To set clear expectations for workers, employee handbooks should include policies related to working from home, such as work hours, communication protocols, and equipment requirements.

Safety protocols

As employers continue to navigate the effects of the pandemic, workplace safety protocols have become even more important. Many companies have implemented new policies and procedures to help keep employees safe and prevent the spread of viruses. These protocols may include masking rules, social distancing guidelines, increased ventilation, and frequent disinfection of high-touch surfaces. About 41% of companies also require employees to get vaccinated or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before entering the workplace. Additionally, many employers have encouraged employees to continue working remotely to reduce the risk of transmission. While these safety protocols have required adjustments for employees and employers alike, they are a critical part of protecting the health and well-being of everyone in the workplace.

Sick leave policies

The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of sick leave policies. In the past, many employees may have felt pressure to come to work when they were ill. However, with the risk of spreading COVID-19, employers are encouraging employees to stay home when they feel unwell. This has also brought attention to the severity of other illnesses, such as the flu and RSV. Employee handbooks now include clearer guidelines on sick leave policies, including how many days employees are entitled to and when they should notify their supervisor.

Mental health support

Changes brought upon by the pandemic have significantly impacted mental health, and employers recognize the need to support their employees. Employee handbooks now include resources and policies related to mental health, such as employee assistance programs, counseling services, and time off for mental health reasons.

The pandemic has had a significant impact on work culture as a whole. Remote work policies, safety protocols, sick leave policies, and mental health support are just a few of the areas that have been affected. Employers must update their employee handbooks to reflect these changes and keep their employees informed about changing policies and procedures.

Need help navigating these changes? Reach out to the experts at INVO PEO today.

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