Since the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic, many businesses have struggled with the question of staying fully open, staying open some of the time, and closing down completely.
If you’re a business owner, HR professional, or a manager who is concerned about your staff, we want to help you by giving you this free email template.
But first, we want to help inform you of what’s going on and why business closures and lockdowns are being ordered by various state governments.
What’s Happening In The COVID-19 Pandemic?
COVID-19, formerly called nCov-2019, SARS-COV2, or the Wuhan Coronavirus, is a type of virus most closely related to the virus that caused the SARS outbreak in East Asia back in early 2003. It was first identified in Wuhan, a large city in Hubei Province in China, back in December 2019. Tens of thousands of people in Wuhan got sick, causing China to extend their Lunar New Year holiday and enforce strict lockdowns.
Unlike SARS, COVID-19 produces a disease that is much less deadly but much more contagious. It spread outside of China to South Korea, Iran, Egypt, and Italy. From there, travelers from these countries brought the virus all over the world in just a matter of months.
As of March 2020, the pandemic is quickly reaching, and killing, thousands of people. Because of this, governments all over the world have issued strict lockdowns and enforced measures to prevent people from spreading the virus. These lockdowns and social distancing measures aim to slow the spread of the virus so that medical science can develop a vaccine and a treatment for the disease, and so hospitals all over the world can build up the resources to deal with the influx of ill patients.
This pandemic is causing a great deal of uncertainty in the financial markets, in supply chains, and in employee morale and confidence.
During lockdowns, there is still a segment of the economy that continues to function as ‘essential businesses’. Essential businesses do not remain unaffected, but should still remain open. Your state may not have issued a lockdown just yet; however, in the event of a national lockdown, it’s important to let your employees know what’s going on.
Lockdowns do not mean that employees in non-essential businesses are barred from doing productive work. It does mean, however, that employees in non-essential businesses will be required to do their work from home and that the entire business operation will need to be decentralized and focused on work from home arrangements.
So, what should you tell your employees? As a general message, here’s a good template to start from.
The Email Template:
Dear Valued Team Members:
As of now, the COVID-19 situation is continuing to unfold at a rapid pace. Our organization is committed to making sure that we’re complying with the law and keeping our employees safe.
We want to make sure that you feel valued and secure as a member of our organization. Because of this, we are obligated to make the following announcement.
Work From Home Arrangements
A portion of our workforce will be required to make work from home arrangements in the near future. HR is committed to making that transition as painless as possible. If you need to start working from home due to personal considerations, please see HR immediately or contact (key human resources decision maker) before (time).
If you are not going to be working from home, know that we as a team will be following these guidelines to help keep everyone safe.
If We’re Feeling Sick, We’ll Stay Home!
Any symptoms you may be having may be a variety of contagious diseases, including the seasonal flu. However, while this COVID-19 pandemic is going on, we are in no position to take chances. There is no vaccine and no cure for this disease, and patients report symptoms lasting for up to 14 days. Since there is a lack of available tests for this disease, we urge you not to take the risk and to stay home in case you feel any symptoms.
Common symptoms of COVID-19 include a sore throat, coughing, fever of any grade, and shortness of breath. If you feel any of these symptoms, please stay home for at least two weeks. We will not be requiring a doctor’s note.
Stay Home If We’ve Had Contact With Anyone Who May Be Infected
A large portion of COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic. If you’ve had contact with anyone showing symptoms, even if you’re not showing symptoms yourself, we urge you to stay home for that two week period.
Wash Our Hands Regularly
Hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of any communicable disease, including COVID-19. By washing your hands at regular, frequent intervals, you are helping slow the spread of disease.
Keep Our Distance From Others
We’ll follow a recommendation of keeping at least six feet away from each other, even during conversation, in order to slow the spread of communicable disease. COVID-19 is passed through person-to-person contact and respiratory droplets, which can travel through the air as we breathe. By keeping our distance, we’re keeping everyone safe.
Keep Most Communications Virtual
Let’s commit to reducing our face-to-face meetings whenever possible, relying instead on phone calls, video chat, email, and instant messaging. This way, we don’t have any unnecessary contact while we’re trying to stay healthy.
Our Commitment To Health and Safety
We’re keeping our commitment to the health and safety of our employees by instituting the following measures:
● Improving the availability of facial tissue, hand sanitizer, and cleaning wipes for all employees
● Increasing the frequency of cleanings in the workplace
● Restricting the visitors that are authorized to come to the office
We will also be considering all work from home requests seriously on a case by case basis. Some employees may be required to work from home, in which case we will send out an announcement.
In the event of a lockdown, we will be sending out another memo informing the team of our role and our decisions.
On behalf of (company), we wish you good health during these turbulent times.