Follow the rules even in a pandemic

Follow the rules even in a Pandemic 

Companies are scrambling to respond as the coronavirus spreads across the country.  My team and I are responding to workplace situations and incidents on a daily basis.  We meet regularly to discuss various coronavirus-related questions posed by employers.  The team that provides outsourced HR must be ready to respond to employee concerns and incidents too.   

We were reflecting on the different situations that have occurred over the past few months and I thought it fitting to provide a compilation of Do’s and Don’ts for employers and their employees. 


Do admit some managers need to be trained- If your managers were ineffective or poorly trained when dealing with employees face-to-face, there is a really good chance they will be even worse managing remote workers.  We have seen a greater need for managerial training. 

Do set clear expectations- Being flexible doesn’t mean employers are off the hook when it comes to giving clear direction, assessing performance measures and communicating desired outcomes.   

Do listen to employee concerns-We have seen employers who listen to employees. They were able to adjust, react and put correction actions into place.   

Do keep your worksites “corona-clean”.  I know it’s a pain.  I know it’s expensive.  Deal with it.  Everyone is watching.   

Do keep employees accountable- Unfortunately, we have dealt with employees, who have abused sick leave polices, avoid work and enter extra hours not worked.  Some employees have used childcare as an excuse not to work even though they had coverage.   

Don’t forget to record and report illness and deaths-Yes, we have seen employers not report.  They are also testing inconsistently.  Not good. 

Don’t try to prevent employees from receiving leave benefits- We have had to educate employers on how to administer FFCRA and we have seen companies not comply with FMLA. 

Don’t use Covid-19 as an excuse to discriminate or harass someone- Abusers beware!  We are still investigating you, even in a pandemic. 


Do enter your hours truthfully- We have seen employees take advantage of their employer’s flexibility.  Bad form! 

Do follow all the rules you would normally follow- We’ve had to remind employees of their assigned schedules, to update systems, enter time worked, and to follow procedures.  Come on people! 

Do speak up if your employer is not adhering to all the disinfecting protocols- We’ve brought employee concerns to management because we’re trying to avoid them reading it on Instagram. 

Do get tested if you think you have been in contact with the coronavirus- Some workers see getting tested as a hassle they would rather avoid.  Stop the spread! 

Don’t fake you have the coronavirus- Yes.  We actually had a few employees, who couldn’t prove they tested positive.  We even had one employee say she had the coronavirus to win a political argument! 

Don’t abuse sick/family leave- My team is very good at approving leave requests only based on the advice of a health care practitioner. Gotcha! 

Don’t refuse to keep the people around you safe- You know the sign in every public restroom, “Employees must wash their hands”.  Wonder if an employee said, “No one’s going to tell me to wash my hands.  It’s my right to wash my hands or not!”  Refusing to wear a mask, take a daily test, or stay a distance is just as ridiculous. 

Don’t use Covid-19 as an excuse to discriminate or harass someone- Abusers beware!  We are still investigating you, even in a pandemic. 

These are only some of the ongoing issues occurring in the workplace and they underscore the complexities of living and working through a pandemic. And here’s what we try to convey in our counseling sessions with managers and employees, we are all in this together.  We must all remain truthful, respectful, and thoughtful of one another in order to get to the other side.