Today’s Blog entry is from Everyday Ethics, a weekly video series where we address timely ethics topics.
There’s no way around it………if you are a leader considering how to marshall your employees for a return to work, there are special challenges ahead. Today, we will discuss the considerations of an ethical leader in starting up business again in the post-Covid world. What is your number one duty as an ethical leader? It is taking care of your people. So, how should we approach it? With kindness ….. empathy …… respect, and integrity! Right??
Your employees have been facing different difficult personal situations while they were furloughed or working from home, and we should respect that by not forcing employees back too soon for a variety of logistical and health reasons. Many people are either in a high-risk category or have someone at home who is. Others have children at home who must be cared for. The respectful thing to do may be to let the employees decide when they are ready to return, and not force them back. AND, we still don’t know the extent of employee screening that will be required by public health officials. So, there are logistical issues that need to be addressed that might be served by slowly reintegrating employees.
We have a moral responsibility to give employees a safe place to return to. Have you considered how employees will maintain social distancing, and the workplace is sanitized? The office layout may need to be changed and staggered shifts employed to promote social distancing. Special cleaning and sanitation procedures may need to be implemented. Regardless, OSHA and CDC guidelines should be followed for both legal and health reasons.
Be honest with employees about how you are providing a safe working environment and explain their responsibility to provide themselves and fellow workers with the best chance of avoiding the virus. We are all in this together, so let’s give ourselves the best chance of defeating this killer.