Whether your business has been temporarily closed by a state shelter-in-place order or is still operating as a provider of essential services, balancing your revenue needs with protecting the safety of your employees and customers can be an unprecedented challenge. Learn more about some of the resources available to help small businesses survive this pandemic, as well as steps businesses can take to keep employees healthy and safe.
Using Federal and State Resources
The federal government has announced two programs to help businesses keep employees on the payroll and cover certain costs on an emergency basis. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, both administered through the Small Business Administration, can provide short-term forgivable loans to businesses that are suffering as a result of the pandemic.1
Other small business grant and loan programs are administered at the state level, and often have more streamlined qualification and application processes than similar federal programs.2
Revisiting Your PTO Policies
Now may be a good time to review your company’s paid time off (PTO) policies. Because coronavirus is so highly communicable and it can take up to two weeks after exposure before symptoms begin, employees who show symptoms of COVID-19 can quickly spread this illness to other staff members and customers.
Relaxing some common PTO restrictions, such as the requirement that employees show a doctor’s note when they’ve taken sick leave for more than a few days in a row, can go a long way toward minimizing the risk to others in your business. Now may also be a good time to temporarily expand PTO or work to stagger schedules to better allow your employees and customers to maintain social distancing guidelines.
Managing Employee Morale
Employees of businesses that are temporarily closed are often worried about how to pay their bills and when they’ll be able to return to work. Employees working remotely can feel cut off from their coworkers and may crave interpersonal interaction. And employees of open businesses are often worried about potential exposure to the coronavirus. Regardless of which category your employees fall into, business owners must work to boost employee morale during these trying times.
Company-wide contests, virtual “happy hours” or team-building meetings, and milestone celebrations can all go a long way toward easing employees’ stresses and helping them feel more connected to other members of their team. As a business owner, the more you can keep employee morale up during this time, the more likely you are to end the COVID-19 shutdown with a loyal, connected group of employees who will always have each others’ backs.
All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
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