COVID compliance

Tips for COVID compliance, documentation and staffing

by Angus Jones

As the Eastern States continue to progress on their paths to re-opening, small businesses are often left confused and in the dark about constant COVID compliance changes in rules and regulations. 

With all the continued uncertainty for small businesses, they can do a few things to help manage some of the new operations and staffing needs that need to be considered. 

From managing compliance and documentation needs to staffing considerations, here are my tips for small business owners on using HR management tools to help them navigate the complexities of re-opening. 

Speeding up COVID compliance checks 

The introduction of mandatory vaccinations in certain industries and the population more broadly means lockdowns are a thing of the past. Since case numbers will now come down to businesses and individuals complying with regulations and mandates, we’re going to see governments paying a lot more attention to the COVID compliance from businesses. They won’t be afraid to shut down sites and give out fines as a deterrent.

Small business owners need to communicate their compliance with ease and make sure there’s no margin for error. Particularly for customer-facing businesses, we don’t want compliance checks taking longer than they need to, or being shut down for simple mistakes, so reviewing your processes to make these checks a breeze is key for continuity and to take advantage of the increase in consumer spending post-lockdown. HR software that holds all documentation & staff records (including vaccinations) is a great way to just hand over to compliance personnel and make the process simple.

Adapting to staffing trends 

Small business owners need to consider how they can increase their staffing flexibility and create efficiencies. As uncertainty continues to loom, a flexible and scalable workforce is going to be key. What many refer to as the ‘uber-isation’ of the workforce could be beneficial to certain sectors, particularly those undergoing staffing shortages and that are also vulnerable to frequent shutdowns like child care, aged care, or construction. 

For example, leveraging rostering technology can allow business owners to allow workers to seamlessly pick up shifts across multiple locations to suit their schedules or fill compliance needs at facilities without waiting for all the checks and balances to come through. Not only is this critical whilst we continue to see self-isolation requirements during COVID, but also changing working habits that demand greater flexibility and convenience from employers.

In addition to flexibility comes retention. It’s no secret that finding staff is hard, which puts the power in the employees’ hands when it comes to retention. We’ve heard multiple stories, particularly from the hospitality industry, where poor management has led to staff walking out because they know there are endless jobs available. The skilled workforce now has leverage. 

The onus is on employers to make sure staff members are happy at work, particularly when we’re just coming out of lockdown. Staff wellbeing is something that you can monitor in HR software. It gives managers and owners insight into what they could be doing to improve staff wellbeing and ultimately retention and performance. 

Keeping up the communication 

As we open back up, the need for increased flexibility means communication across the business is essential. Some people think that workforce management software is only made to cover admin tasks. Still, a truly all-in-one platform allows fast communication through private messages and collaboration boards. Hence, people are up to date from wherever they are, which is imperative to lead a team in changing times.

Ultimately, we’re going back into a very different world than the one we knew before the most recent lockdowns. Vaccine mandates, rapidly changing staffing needs and new ways of working will demand more from small business owners than ever. That’s why it’s important to carefully consider the HR software you’re using and ensure you prioritise compliance, realise efficiencies, and take care of your staff as we take steps to re-open the country. 

By Kheang Ly, CEO and Co-founder at OWNA

Also see Small business Answers guide to Work Health & safety.

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