Does Your Ethics Policy Include Coronavirus Risk?

Where does your company stand on managing risks associated with COVID-19? Your response might have been different just a year or two ago. But are there risks, mitigation efforts, and concerns businesses should consider right now, in 2023?

The pandemic forced many business owners and departmental leaders to flex and adapt to new guidelines regarding safety and workplace best practices. And depending on where you do business today, those rules might still have huge swaths of gray areas. While you can’t predict how each individual, either working within your company or doing business externally with it, feels about today’s risks of COVID-19, you can take steps to address it, without overstepping into political territory. And one of these ethics policy upgrades includes implementing an ethics hotline.

Don’t Ignore Coronavirus Risks

Regardless of how you feel about the risks of COVID-19 or its many variations, it’s best to have an ethics policy addressing it. If we learned anything, it’s to be prepared. And there’s always the possibility of other similar situations arising in the years to come. Prepare now by addressing the basics, at least, and more if you’re in a high-risk environment like healthcare. Include these definitions within your policy:

· Company policy regarding COVID-19-positive workers reporting to work.

· Timelines for safe return to work.

· Necessary documentation from healthcare professionals regarding diagnosis.

· Policies regarding sanitary workspaces.

· Companywide available resources, including testing if provided, sanitizers, or PPE.

· Remote working options or guidelines that apply to employees.

Use Transparent Language in Your Ethics Policies

Your primary goal with an ethics policy and COVID-19 guidelines is to protect employees from spreading the disease to others. You also want to prevent operational shutdowns due to illness. Everything else can be considered nuance, either helping or hindering those efforts. So, be transparent and simple about what your company expects, protects, and guarantees regarding those COVID-19 basics. Leave room for flexibility and individual situations that may call for different courses of action and avoid overburdening the group with outlying scenarios or concerns.

Survey Your Staff for Feedback

If you’re still not sure which language to include or exclude, don’t be afraid to talk with your employees about their concerns. Send out anonymous surveys and ask for feedback. Get their opinions about reporting to work, sanitizing at work, and risks associated with the virus. You can use their sentiments as a guide for addressing what’s most important to them.

Develop an Ethics Hotline Platform

One of the most relevant and effective steps you can take to manage risks and enforce COVID-related policies is to implement an ethics hotline. These hotlines serve as anonymous channels your teams, along with customers and vendors, can use to report risks and concerns without fear of retaliation. You can then be alerted to each new Coronavirus-related question or issue immediately. And taking swift action with each unique scenario, along with broad-stroked ethics policy guidelines, is likely the best way forward.

Get help with revising and enforcing your ethics policies with an ethics hotline and Ethical Advocate! Our teams can help you navigate these gray areas, and the hotline ensures you remain dynamic and flexible for whatever the future may hold.