It is not an easy time to be a business or employee in California. COVID, the cost of living, and wildfires are disrupting day to day operations and challenging managers to support their employees. We at BOLT understand, and want to do what we can to help you and your business during this time of uncertainty. Below we discuss three recommendations we have for supporting your staff and handling operational disruptions during fire season.
Compassion for Employees
We recommend that you address your employees with compassion and understanding during this time. Many people have children out of school due to coronavirus and are dealing with an overall stressful period. Proactively, reach out to your staff, listen to their concerns, and do what you can to help lessen their burden. Even if it causes operational disruptions, try to be sympathetic and flexible with your employees should they have to miss work due to an evacuation order. People remember how they were treated when times were tough, and a supportive manager during difficult periods is rewarded with more trust from their employees down the road.
Planning for Disruption
Because fires can happen so suddenly, it is a good idea to work with your staff to create a plan that you can use should your business or home go under mandatory evacuation order. Work through questions like; if our workplace is threatened can we continue to operate from home? Does my team have the tools they need to successfully work from home? Can employees who live in different areas cover for each other should they need to miss work due to a fire? Working though questions like these can help you and your employees formulate a plan for if fires do end up threatening your area. This may seem over cautious, but as blazes impact more areas, thinking through possible scenarios beforehand is a great way to help minimize possible operational disruptions you and your business may face.
Knowing Available Resources
In addition to working with your team to create a plan, learning more about available resources and can be beneficial to both you and your employees. These may include things like social services, emergency phone numbers and replacements for staff should some of your employees have to miss work. Emergency phone numbers are usually county or city specific, but some general California resources that could be useful for your staff include:
- California Housing Support Contacts, emergency phone numbers and emails listed by county
- SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline, which offers 24/7 support for anyone experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human disasters
- California’s Department of Insurance, for insurance related information specific to wildfire victims
- A list of local food banks, that can provide emergency food assistance
- Up to date fire tracking information from the California government
Replacements for staff can be difficult to find internally and on short notice, so you may want to turn to a staffing agency for assistance should some of your employees have to miss work. BOLT is happy to support your business during this time. If you find yourself understaffed and needing help, whether short or long term, we would love to talk about how we can assist you. We hope that this was informative for you as you navigate fire season and if there is anything we can do to help you or your business, please feel free to call us at (707) 939-2800.