4 Simple Ways To Avoid Work Disruption
I love the rainy season. The rains renew me. The dark sky brings joy to my heart and there is this tingling excited feeling that I can’t really express in words. Maybe that’s so because I’m an outdoors person. But unlike me, I know a lot of other people who would give anything to stay out of the rains. They dislike the gloomy weather, the slippery streets, the frequent water logging issues, and the list is long. And the odds of many more turning their like to dislike drastically increases if this person has a team that reports into him/her. Why? Because the monsoon brings with it many uncalled for circumstances which most certainly result in work disruption, no matter the size of the team or the location of the workplace. While you don’t get to decide who would be affected by it, you could definitely approach these challenges proactively.
What are the top challenges?
Believe it or not, this subject of work disruption has been a hot topic for discussion with many of our clients. “Application for sick leave” is among the top three reasons for work disruption during the monsoons. You can’t reject it but accepting it means temporary loss of productivity and revenue. With a heavy heart, most of the time you end up approving it. Heavy heart because it does end up leaving that 1% regret on why the employees had to fall sick on that particular day.
There are times when the employees even send you an email asking for a leave for some other family member’s sickness. This could be their parents, children or even spouse in some situations. The reason they request this is because they are usually the only ones to attend to the medical needs of their loved ones. Again, you don’t really have an option to reject because you don’t want to sound inconsiderate to them.
Employees might even be delayed or absent on a particular day because they are unable to make their way through the water-logging and heavy rains in the city.
I’m certain all this sounds familiar. The question is, how do you tackle this?
Here are some practical ways in which you could ensure that there is little work disruption, especially in the monsoon season.
1. Pre-define your SOP (Standard Operation Procedure)
Often the reason work is disrupted during the monsoon season is because of the uncertainty. One would never know which day would turn out to be a bad day for employees to travel – either due to water logging or due to sickness. If there’s a thunderstorm outside or water-logging in a major part of your city, should an employee come to the office?
Keep in mind, the most important thing is to ensure that your employees are safe. Establish clarity on who would take this decision for the employees. Would it be directed by you or by one of your managers? You need to also instruct on who would communicate the decision to the teams? Eg: if you announce a work from home, would the managers and supervisors inform their respective teams or does the HR take over and communicate this? This works other way round as well. Should the employee inform the HR only or is informing the manager also equally mandatory?
2. Strengthen internal communication
Internal communications play an important part in helping you maintain the health of the employees. This would involve taking conscious efforts towards it and doing the following steps religiously at your workplace. What do you get in return? A happy workforce that is not just productive but also willing to stay loyal to the company for as long as it takes.
This can be done through words, sessions, workshops and followed up by practical examples and measures. It could be as simple as having a poster at every cubicle that reminds people of safe drinking water from the purifier only. You can also give a printout of symptoms, precautionary measures and cures for various monsoon-related diseases. For example, you can have a dedicated drawer or locker for employees to store extra clothing and footwear. This would be extremely helpful on rainy days when they are drenched during travel and have to sit all day in that condition.
You could also promote healthy hygiene habits like the washing of hands and feet every time an employee walks in, especially during heavy rains. This would ensure they stay out of infections and water-related ailments that they could have possibly otherwise caught by walking in the dirty water-logged streets. A hair-dryer or towel to dry their hair also helps them from cold due to torrential rains.
3. Have proactive health awareness programmes
The next step is creating awareness about health in your office. A healthy workforce translates into a productive workforce. Consider having an awareness campaign within the organisation. This will be focused on making people aware of various safety and health tips they can use in their daily life. Encourage the employees to share these tips with the family members. This gives it a more inclusive and encouraging push.
Reactive health care could include various things an employee can do when he/she is unwell. Why is this important? It’s because it makes your employee feel that are cared for even when they are unwell. This goes a long way when it comes to employee retention. They would prefer being with an employer who cared for them when they were ill even if other things might not be in their favour. So, it is crucial that you focus on this part.
If an employee is unwell, ensure that they inform their reporting manager as soon as possible. Ask them to keep the HR in the loop so that they don’t get into a procedural fix later. At an organisational level, you can ask your managers to consider the leave request based on the situation and not deny it immediately. A little bit of consideration goes a long way for the employee.
4. Have an employee-sensitive leave policy
Last but not the least, a subject very dear to every employee in your organisation, the leave policy. You can allow a part of the casual/sick leave could be availed by the employee as a care-giving leave for their families.
While preventive measures are on one side of the spectrum, reactive measures are also an equally important part on the other side. Having a cohesive and comprehensive employee policy helps you and the employees both in the event of a sick leave or caregiving leave. It needs to consider all aspects on how it would not give too much leeway but at the same time not be too inconsiderate to the employees’ needs.
You can even make provisions for a work-from-home module in such situations. But you need to ensure that it’s not overused. Having a track and regular review of this by the HR will ensure the correct purpose is met and it is not misused.
On the next rainy day, think about these solutions. Give them a try and if any of them work out well for you, do let us know. While these are some of the common, for-all kind of solutions; at Yellow Spark, we help you with your end-to-end employee policy development. Based on various employee situations and possible repercussions on business, we help you draft a policy that helps both the company and the employees in a positive way. You can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org have a customised policy drafted for your organisation.
Author Profile: Deepam Yogi is an adventurer at heart, socially conscious in her gut and professionally a strategic consultant. She co-founded Yellow Spark to support organisations to build workplaces that people love being a part of. Deepam describes herself as a shy yet opinionated writer, and firmly believes that most answers to complex issues lie in simple communication.