5 Considerations for a Contingency Staffing Plan
March 13, 2020
By Lindsey Gross
With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, companies have had to take a close look at their business operations and ask themselves, “Do we have coverage if one of our employees is out of the office for an extended period of time?” Companies both large and small have had to come up with contingency plans for their employees in case they cannot come in to work due to sickness, the obligation to take care of a loved one who may be sick, or to care for children who are home due to school and day care closures for an extended period of time.
If your company does not have a back-up coverage plan they should consider the following:
- All employees should have another employee cross-trained on the most critical tasks of their job. These would be the areas that would directly affect the company’s ability to operate. For example, the accounts payable staff should have a backup trained to allow for the company to continue to process the company’s bills for payment while they are out to avoid disruptions in services.
- Companies will have to also consider employees ability to work remotely. In doing this they will need to equip employees with computers, monitors or other equipment needed to perform their work out of the office. Also employers will have to test their network connectivity when employees are not in the office to ensure they can carry out their normal tasks.
- In the cases where an employee will be absent due to the obligation to take care of a loved one who is sick or child who is home due to school and day care closures, employers will need to be flexible as to when their employees may be able to work. The standard 9-to-5 work day may need to be adjusted to accommodate when employees have the ability to work from home based on their caretaker schedules.
- Companies may need to consider working in shifts to cut down on the number of employees in the office at one time to allow for improved social distancing while at work. This is more of a preventative measure to reduce the risk of employees spreading illness in the workplace.
- Finally, an alternative way for a businesses to ensure that they have the ability to cover the accounting and finance department activities due to employees being out of the office for an extended period of time would be to be to outsource the accounting function to a third-party provider. By outsourcing this function your company can have the peace of mind knowing someone will be available to run the accounting and finance function remotely without impacting your business operation.
The bottom line is to make sure you consider all possibilities when developing your company’s back up coverage plan. The best plan will be well thought out and will take into account the health and safety of your employees.