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The COVID-19 crisis has left the world astounded and afraid. Virtually every business across every industry has been impacted. Unfortunately, some small businesses have been almost completely crippled. Regardless of the size of a company, communication plays a vital role during this unprecedented outbreak.

COVID-19 Communication
Essential businesses that are permitted to remain operational must communicate with employees and customers. Companies that have been forced to close their doors still owe staff and clients regular updates. Employees need information from Human Resources, such as how to file for unemployment.

Customer Updates
It is vital for employees to stay engaged whenever possible. If companies have been required to close or layoff employees, customers may still have questions. Projects that are underway or in process require routine maintenance and updates. Put a plan in place through internal communication systems, so everyone has information at their fingertips to field customer inquiries.

Employee Protection
Employers cannot assume that employees are staying abreast of COVID-19 data and media coverage. Share best practices about hand washing, provide face masks, and encourage other personal protection tips to keep employees safe. Communication reminders such as signs and posters help enforce social distancing and remind employees to remain accountable for their health and safety.

Company Policy Changes
Introducing and reiterating company policy is a constant task for Human Resource managers. Changes surrounding COVID-19 recommendations come frequently and without warning. Owners and executive staff members are responsible for communicating these critical changes as they relate to a specific industry or role. A best practice for this step is to consistently send electronic communication at the same time of day or week. Other pertinent information, such as sick leave payouts, should be communicated in real-time as they arise.

Open Door Availability
Many companies have temporarily reduced their workforce. Some in response to an overall business slowdown, others to mandate social distancing. Communication channels naturally breakdown when employees are not all under one roof. Employees need to know who to contact when they have a question or concern. This may be a dedicated phone line or monitored email box. Provide regular updates about resuming normal business operations to keep staff informed and inspired to return to work in the near future.