This month, we get serious as we talk about COVID-19, the implications to staff and to businesses.
Please reach out to Stanford Brown at [email protected] if you are interested in implementing educational seminars or onsite initiatives related to the articles you read below.
What is COVID-19 and how do we keep safe? A professional opinion.
The best way to alleviate fears, is by knowing the facts. In this short informative video, Dr Simone Ryan, a specialist occupational physician, explains the FACTS of COVID-19 – what it is, what happens if you or someone you care about contracts it and what it means for your workforce.
Dr Simone also points out the mental health risks of social distancing and the importance for employees to continue to have direction and purpose, even if working from home, or as she puts it, “to get up, dress up and show up.”
We encourage you to share this with those around you to help keep the facts straight and to know what to look out for when trying to keep safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 – What should businesses consider?
Please note that the below information is accurate as at 17 March 2020. Please refer to the World Health Organisation and the Department of Healthfor updates as the status of this illness is constantly changing and it is extremely important to stay up to date.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) has been declared a pandemic with governments imposing quarantines and travel bans. Companies are seriously reviewing their policies to ensure their staff are protected against the virus and business functions can continue to operate.
The total number of confirmed cases worldwide has now reached 160,000 with over 6,000 deaths. These figures are increasing each day with no sign of slowing down.
In the wake of this global pandemic, Harvard Business Review have posed questions that employers should consider about the coronavirus:
How can we best protect our employees from exposure in the workplace?
The disease is known to mainly spread through respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing. It is advised that employees should:
– Stay home or leave work if they develop symptoms
– Shield coughs and sneezes with your elbow or shoulder (not your hands)
Have we maximised employees’ ability to work remotely?
It is encouraged that meetings be conducted by video conferencing and utilise work from home where possible to reduce face to face contact as much as possible.
How do we ensure employees stay productive at home?
Any disruption in routine can be jarring. To make sure that employees are getting the best out of their time and continue to stay healthy, we suggest sharing the following tips:
- Assign a dedicated work space and make it comfortable! Working from the couch is not often the best place to be productive!
- Keep your regular rituals intact, like getting dressed in the morning and making your bed. While working in pyjamas is tempting, it may not put you in a ‘work’ mindset.
- Keep lines of communication open, but set boundaries. What is the best way to stay in touch? Set rules for when your colleagues should email, instant message or call you. Don’t fall trap to answering emails immediately to ensure that others think you are ‘busy’.
- Stay healthy! Keep exercising, keep eating healthy, and make sure to get some outside time to replenish your mental and physical stores! WFH does not mean that you can’t leave your home to get some fresh air.
Should we revise our policies around international and domestic business travel?
Many companies have already restricted travel to and from Asia while some have restricted travel altogether. Travel restrictions not only aid in preventing illness from spreading, but also reduced the risk of productivity loss due to quarantines and isolations that may be involved.
Stanford Brown has already restricted travel altogether and choosing to hold meetings over video conference where possible. We are also maximising our ability to work remotely so as to not infect each other.
What else should we consider?
This is an anxious time for many. We encourage you to remind staff about your EAP services if they wish to speak to a professional about their anxieties, and how to keep mentally well during a stressful situation.
Weighing the options – Health insurance April Rate Renewals
Rate renewals for private health insurance will occur this April meaning it is the perfect time to review your cover and ensure that it is the best fit for you.
Australians are generally pretty lucky, our public system is seen as world-class and available to all. If we get sick, we will receive great care through the public system. However, during a life-changing event such as becoming a cancer patient, having private insurance to skip past lengthy waiting times to get specialist care can be extremely valuable.
But, of course, having private health insurance can be expensive. The average annual cost of private health insurance for a single person with no dependants is $1,336. If you’re a family with two kids, that increases to an average of $2,715 a year. That’s just for basic hospital cover, with no extras.
All these factors have made ‘the decision around whether you should have private health insurance, or not, harder and harder’ says Dr Huckel Schenider.
Considering that individual costs for retail health insurance are rising, it is becoming more important for businesses to consider providing cover through their benefits programs. Subsidised health insurance may not be appropriate for all benefits budgets, but a company voluntary scheme that includes a premium discount (and often a better corporate product) can go a long way for employees.
Reach out to Stanford Brown if you would like to look at how a private health insurance program can work for your business.
#EachforEqual – Happy International Women’s Day!
Sunday 8 March marked International Women’s Day (IWD), with 2020’s theme being #EachforEqual- the power of collective individualism in striving for social progress.
Stanford Brown celebrated IWD together, marking our social progress within the company, each of us wearing a touch of purple to support women all around the world!
As women, we want it all! Careers, family, wealth, security. However, the statistics show that women often have lower superannuation balances and typically less savings than men. The BeneFit3 team in conjunction with Stanford Brown continued to celebrate IWD by creating a short webinar called ‘The Aussie Woman’s Need to Know Guide To Financial Success’.
We encourage you to watch our panel of fantastic expert advisers discuss the unique financial needs of women, including what to consider in building a successful financial strategy – to better set ourselves up for our careers, families and retirement.