Coronavirus (COVID-19) | Working From Home Support

Move Forward.

Mental health support

Accessing support and staying connected is more important than ever during this time.

  • Beyond Blue have established a dedicated COVID-19 online forum for people to share their concerns and connect online to support one another.
  • ReachOut have online youth forums and online parents forums for COVID-19 offering peer support in safe and established online communities.
  • SANE have an active online forum focused on unpacking fact from fiction about COVID-19 and providing self-care strategies.

The below support lines are available 24/7 if you need to talk.

  • Lifeline 13 11 14
  • Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
  • Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
  • MensLine 1300 78 99 78
  • Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

For a range of mental health information and support you can also visit the Government’s website here.

Workforce support

As an employer you have a duty of care to provide and maintain a safe workplace during this uncertain time.  Consistent communication with your staff is important – keep them informed of their obligations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and let them know of your internal support mechanisms should their work situation changed during this time.  Have in place easy to follow guidelines that staff can see and access.

  • Hang posters around the business for all staff to see on measures to prevent the spread of the disease
  • Let all staff know of how they are expected to inform the business if they think or know they have the disease.  Who is the person they need to get that information to and how?
  • Ensure there is no shame around staff self-identifying as having the virus – this is an important piece to get across to your teams as if staff have concerns around letting the business know of their diagnosis then the virus has more of a chance to spread

It may be that as an organisation you will need to consider alternative working arrangements for your team, considering flexibility in the form of hours, location and pattern of work across teams could reduce the effects of an emergency and maintain productivity. Consider facilitating your teams to work from home in order for them to be able to perform their usual duties. Using this time of reduced productively can be an opportunity to upskill employees using online training tools that could make them of greater value when things return to a normal routine.

  • Create a policy for staff who have laptops to take them home with them each day should situations to the workplace change overnight.
  • Should it be necessary for staff to work from home during this time make sure they have a good understanding of what is expected of them and they continue to be supported and managed.

It’s important to understand as an employer what your financial obligations are to your staff regarding time off.  Employees who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have a doctor’s certificate are able to access their sick leave. In circumstances where employees have been quarantined due to the COVID-19 disease, they may request to access their personal/carer’s leave over this period to mitigate any loss of income. The employee should provide notice and may be required to provide evidence of the reason for the leave upon the request of the employer.  It may be necessary for employees to access their annual leave during this time and this type of leave can only be taken by mutual agreement so employers will need to make sure agreement with the employee is reached before proceeding with processing of annual leave.

  • Communicate with all staff prior to a crisis what is expected of them and their leave requirements for all scenarios they may encounter.

The most important thing to remember during this time is to communicate your plan to your staff. Should an emergency scenario affect your business then best practice should be to let your staff know exactly what to do to maintain productivity ahead of time.

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