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Gary Saitowitz on What Business Leaders Can Do to Help Employees During COVID-19

— November 18, 2020

Despite all the stress and risks associated with COVID-19, it is of pivotal importance to keep in mind that we have already encountered such crisis situations before.

Since January this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has spread like wildfire throughout the world and resulted in chaotic disruption of the public health infrastructure and the economy. The health concerns of employees will have a significant impact on the performance of businesses, and proactive business leaders will do well to try to tackle them well. It is especially important when the virus is expected to keep spreading for quite some time, according to Gary Saitowitz recommends some measures business leaders can take.

Establish a Cross-Functional Team for Ensuring Business Response and Continuity

To deal with the various impacts of the pandemic and to provide the necessary inputs to the senior management, the company should set up a dedicated team. It will help the company management to coordinate better and send out appropriate communication to all stakeholders, including employees, customers, lenders, and suppliers. The team can suggest interim successors who can take care of critical functions in situations where key personnel may not be available in the office or become infected. The team can also suggest ways of how the workplace can be cleaned and sanitized and how the health of frontline workers who cannot work remotely ensured.

Ensuring Workforce Safety 

The management must establish a robust plan for communicating regularly with employees to allay their feelings of uncertainty and insecurity. A plan for remote working can be implemented for many workers, observes Gary Saitowitz. Figure out the prime concerns of your employees regarding their physical, mental, and financial concerns, and move swiftly to address them appropriately. They can share relevant information with employees regarding safe health practices via circulars, online seminars, as well as a dedicated helpdesk. Ensure the development and communication of clear rules and duties of employees who have been exposed to the risk of infection, including a mandatory 2-week self-isolation and cancellation of all physical meetings with coworkers, clients, and suppliers.

Detroit Nurse Shows Gratitude to Frontliners Combating COVID-19
Photo by Daniele D’Andreti on Unsplash

Safeguarding Workplace Safety is Paramount, Cautions Gary Saitowitz

Business leaders will need to ensure that offices, factories, warehouses, terminals, etc. are all cleaned and sanitized regularly according to protocols laid down by the CDC. To enforce the necessary social distancing, the seating and working arrangements may have to be altered appropriately. An SOP must be established for ensuring that only healthy workers attend the workplace and that any employee suspected of being infected with the coronavirus is promptly removed and treated. Managements must review their travel policies in line with the current advisory by the government and keep employees updated. Be prepared to provide relief to any employee stranded in remote locations due to restrictions on travel.

Workforce Strategy Planning

You may work through challenging scenarios such as the closure of offices or even withdrawal of some product lines. Start getting ready with apt communications well in advance so that you are well-equipped to tackle your employees. Your chief responsibility is providing a constructive response. You may refrain from having disruptive communication with your employees or not communicating with them at all.


Despite all the stress and risks associated with COVID-19, it is of pivotal importance to keep in mind that we have already encountered such crisis situations before. As an employer, if you think that your workforce is the most precious asset to your organization, then you need to focus on communication, planning, and being consistent in your activities. Be there for your staff, and keep supporting them despite the dire circumstances triggered by COVID-19.

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