Businesses had many, many headaches in 2020--as did all their employees. From new laws to shutdowns, protests, and illness and death, every company and every employee had new challenges last year.
As such, your company adopted new policies. (With changing laws, you had to adopt at least some changes in 2020 or face the wrath of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Labor, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.)
Some things have already been walked back (the Families First Coronavirus Response Act's "extension" is purely voluntary now), and some things have been forgotten. But, here are eight policies you should keep--even if the vaccine stops the pandemic in its tracks.
1. Paid sick leave.
While some states require this, federal law doesn't. A study showed that FFCRA's paid quarantine period reduced Covid-19 cases by 400 per day because people stayed home. Even when Covid-19 goes away, it's not the only disease out there. Keep sick employees at home.
2. Celebrate Juneteenth.
Many companies rushed to add Juneteenth--a celebration of the end of slavery--to their holiday calendar in 2020 in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement. Make sure it stays on your holiday calendar in 2021 and forever after.
Many jobs that everyone said could never be done remotely were done remotely for a very long time in 2020. While not everyone needs (or wants) to work from home, and there is often value in true face to face time, keep your telecommuting policy robust, which will increase flexibility for your employees.
This can be a huge benefit to you and your employees if your health insurance will continue to cover such appointments. Sure, some things have to be done in person, but even the Department of Labor now allows telehealth visits to certify leaves under the Family Medical Leave Act.
5. Family-friendly policies.
When schools and daycares closed, moms and dads had to make do with kids in the background. This is not ideal, and employees working from home should have someone else caring for the children when at all possible. Companies should keep policies that allow the sounds and scenes of kids from time to time--especially if the child is sick and can't go to daycare.
6. Greater flexibility.
People with small children aren't the only ones who benefited from the greater flexibility many businesses offered in 2020. Try to keep things flexible for your employees, even as we (hopefully) return to normal.
7. Better diversity and inclusion policies.
Race was at the forefront of a lot of news in 2020. Many companies responded by updating their recruiting and retention policies to help attract and retain minority candidates and employees. Keep making things better in 2021.
8. Communicable disease policies.
It's not just paid sick days that are helpful; having a policy that says clearly when you should stay home and when you should return helps everyone stay healthy. Make sure you don't return to expecting people to come in sick, even if they are dosed up on medicine and feel "OK."
If your company has implemented anything that makes life better for your employees and customers, consider keeping it, even if things return to normal. Happy employees are productive employees.