To all our valued members and readers: the blog content on business continuity was written just before the nationwide public health guidelines for social distancing and self-isolation. In such a fast-evolving situation, we realize that some of the scenarios are already a reality with most of us now working from home. While some of the tips in these blogs mention in-person meetings and face to face situations, we would like to urge all our members to follow local public health guidelines on social distancing and work from home if at all possible.
Keep tuned for more blogs that we hope will be helpful as you face these challenging times.
The well-being of staff and of the families you support will be a primary concern for every family support centre right now. Let’s start by encouraging everyone to stay home when ill and, if potentially exposed to COVID 19, to self-quarantine for 14 days. The Government of Canada is introducing an employment insurance provision to assist workers without sufficient paid leave. This is a good time to brainstorm with your Board how best to financially support employees off work as there will be much angst about pay. On the practical side, ensure up to date desk books detail all employee responsibilities and routines in case another person must step in behind. Desk books are mission critical in areas like finance where employers must maintain payrolls and cover essential bills.
Encouraging everyone to practice infection control just makes sense. Good hygiene starts with frequent soapy handwashing: sing the Happy Birthday song – twice. And, along with lots of liquid soap at sinks, place hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes around common spaces. Next, good cough and sneeze etiquette is an essential ingredient (clean tissue or into elbows). One good sneeze can spread infectious droplets far and wide. When greeting visitors, families or each other, get into the habit of a fist or elbow bump hello instead of a handshake or hug: handshakes are so yesterday anyway! A few staff stand-up meetings will surface common issues and probably the best solutions. An open group-chat will also dispel misinformation and rumour since “FAKE NEWS” is everywhere.
Access to mental health supports should also be a top-of-mind consideration – COVID-19 is creating anxiety. For those who have self-quarantined or who actually get sick, make sure they can count on a friendly lifeline for drop-off groceries or pharmacy pick-up. These are scary times, and no one wants to feel isolated. For more information, look to your local public health website or the Government of Canada site https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html.
A Message from Kelly Stone,
President & CEO, Families Canada