Send your employees home!

The corona virus can only be stopped if people isolate themselves. This also applies to the employees. Companies should send them home to work now.

Home office: The only thing that hopefully helps.
The only thing that hopefully helps.

Isolation is the drug of choice against the corona virus. Whole countries cordon themselves off, internally and externally. The main thing is that not so many people come together in one place and the transmission of the virus is stopped, if not stopped.

Every company should now ask themselves what their contribution can be to protect employees from possible contamination with the corona virus. Is it enough if the cleaning staff now wipes the keyboards more often than usual? Is it enough to ask employees to stay at home with a sore throat? Or are there possibly more drastic measures to protect them? Can’t everyone just work from home?

Precaution and care
But in many companies the home office still fails because of the stoic attitude of the superiors. Some of them specifically prohibit their employees from working from home – although it would be possible without much effort. In a study conducted by the Institute for Labor Market and Vocational Research (IAB) in 2019, two-thirds of employees stated that their presence was so important to their superiors that they never worked from home. And six percent of those who were allowed to do so said at the same time that their bosses believed that less was being done at home. Coworking spaces and remote work seem to be more suitable for hip superiors for start-ups and definitely not for their solid operations.

That has to change – now. Companies have a duty of care towards their employees. You are responsible for their safety and health. It is not enough if they only release the employees as soon as a person from the office has been infected with the corona virus. You should do that now. Preventive. If it is possible in any way: send your people home to work!
The goal: save time
If more employees moved to the home office, significantly fewer people would be out and about in the city every day. Far fewer people would meet in the office. The risk of infection with the corona virus would be significantly reduced. The slower the virus spreads in society, the better the health system can adapt to it. And gain time to develop medication and vaccination.

Sure, in the manufacturing industry, people have to be on site, the assembly lines must not stand still. Many services are only possible where there are many people. In local public transport, on buses and trains, in supermarkets, nail salons, bakery shops or schools. You cannot isolate these workers without closing deals. But you can also try to protect them. For example, if guests are only allowed to get on the back of the bus, far away from the driver, as Berlin transport companies are now doing.

In other areas, it’s much easier to send people to your home office. According to a study by the digital association Bitkom, around half of all employees in Germany mainly work with a computer. The PC is therefore the most important work tool, especially for people in the financial industry, insurance companies, IT and consulting. It is particularly easy for these employees to work from home. In a safe environment, without sniffing colleagues.

Companies should now quickly ensure that their employees have the necessary equipment to work remotely. They should also be generous when it comes to sick days. You shouldn’t immediately request a certificate for every sore throat. It is more important to ensure that employees have enough time to relax when they need it. And they should make it clear to them that they don’t have to worry about their job, even if they are out longer. In the crisis, employers can show that they act responsibly – and really stand behind their employees.