Managing Staff during the Coronavirus

During any time of uncertainly, a business needs to find ways of managing its staff and procedures in such a way as to maintain as much continuity and business-as-usual as possible,

During the global pandemic of Coronavirus (COVID-19), there are ways that myhrtoolkit can be used to track employees who are self-isolating, furloughed (in the UK), or reporting sick.

This page is relevant for both Controllers and Managers

Keeping track using General Absence

Myhrtoolkit's General Absence functionality provides a mechanism for registering not only when employees have dental appointments, etc., but can be used to highlight when staff are not following their normal work routine.

Exactly how you choose to make use of this functionality will depend on your company policies, but the following FAQ will provide a walk-through of a method of identifying what is happening with individual employees.

How can I set up my Toolkit to use General Absence in Coronavirus management? (Controllers)

This section is intended for Controllers only.

Navigate to Config > System > Absence > General Absence Type.
Add three new General Absence types:

  • Self-isolating WFH (for healthy employees working from home)
  • Self-isolating WFH mild symptoms (for employees working from home, but may be showing some symptoms, in the same way that an employee might be in the office with a cold)
  • Furloughed (for employees temporarily suspended from work following Government directive)

You may find your organisation requires a greater or lesser degree of granularity, but for the purposes of this example they will cover most employees conditions.

Consideration will need to be made for the options available with each General Absence Type added, especially regarding whether a type is to be shown on the Calendar. There may be privacy issues and management of goodwill within the staff-base surrounding knowing whether other employees are Furloughed, for instance. This is something that each organisation will need to made their own choice about, depending on company policy.

When you have set up your General Absense Types, remember to filter details of them down to Absence Managers as required, and inform them of your company's intentions of how to track staff around this time. You may find it helpful to direct them to this page.
How can I keep track of which employees are WFH or Furloughed?

To set an employee as being in one of the new states, go to Management > Absence > General Absence Dates.

For each employee under consideration, find their row and create a new General Absence record by:

  • From the Absence Type dropdown list, select the relevant option for this employee
  • Click the More than one full day selector

Then click the Submit button.

A new page will load enabling you to input Start and End dates. The start date is quite straightforward. The end date is mandatory, and cannot be edited after the record has been created. This highlights that we are using functionality in a way for which it wasn't originally designed, but works in a sufficiently valid way for what is wanted. It is likely that, in some cases, the length of furlough or working from home will not be known.

When the General Absence type assigned to the employee ceases to be relevant, their record will need revisiting, with a new record created which reflects the actual period of absence with the correct end date, and the existing record being deleted.
There are two ways that this may be approached.

  • Create a single record of a longer period, for instance, a month. If the status is only applicable for part of this, then delete/ add new as outlined above.
  • Create multiple shorter period records of, for instance, a week. These could be set up in advance, or reviewed weekly, with only the final record being deleted/ new record.

The choice of approach will be dependent on the size of your organisation, and the management teams' ability to manage the administration of the employees they oversee.

Note – General Absence records are not used in Bradford Factor calculations, so multiple records will not interfere with normal sickness absence management.
I have employees off sick with symptoms, should I record that on their return?

If an employee is actually sick and off work, then the usual Sickness Absence reporting will apply.

When the employee returns to work, either update the open record created via Employee Files, or create a new record, both achieved via Management > Absence > Sickness Absence Dates.

When the record has been updated, click the notes & docs link in the row, then the Reason for absence link on the new page.

On the new page, select the relevant option. If the reason for the absence was Corona Virus, tick the Viral Infection box, and in the Other reason box type "Coronavirus", "COVID-19", or whatever makes most sense to the terminology your organisation has adopted. After submitting the page, the previous page will load with the reason updated. Clicking the Back button will return to the Sickness Absence Dates page.

What reporting is available for knowing who is where?

Reporting on General Absence can be found in Management > Reports > Absence reports. The various reports required can then be run and collated according to the needs your organisation may have at a given time.

Can I use File Notes to keep notes about employees through this period?

File Notes are a useful feature for making journaled entries against employees, and would be a good place to more detailed descriptions of, for instance

  • Agreements with staff/ details of borrowed equipment/ etc. concerning working from home,
  • Notes about start and projected end of furlough,
  • Additional circumstances (e.g. family setup, availability) around the working from home arrangements,
  • Notes of documents in the Document Library relating to any of the above (if the documents have not been added to the File Note)
  • File Notes do not appear in the calendar, and while they have a date of submission, they do not have an expiry date, and as such would need reviewing, editing, or superseding as circumstances change
  • There is no reporting for File Notes. If you need more detailed information about numbers of employees in different circumstances, this feature should be used in conjunction with General Absence
  • A File Note is visible to anyone who manages the employee, and as such discretion may be needed around various potential privacy issues (e.g. family).

File Notes allow for more detailed information to be stored against an employee, while General Absence allows for greater granulatity in reporting about your organisation. The extent to which you use/configure either will depend on the size and needs of your business. If you need any additional advice about any of the functions used here, please do not hesitate to contact our support team.

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