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As a local business with 65 team members, XY Planning Network (XYPN) made the decision on Sunday to close our office and require all team members to work from home. Social distancing is the best, most proactive way to slow the spread of COVID-19, and the time for action is now, before a major outbreak hits Montana.

If you are a business owner facing this situation, your response reflects on you as a leader and on your business. Here are some actions you can take:

Work from home: I implore all business owners to ask your team members to work from home if possible, even if it is only a portion of your workforce.

Sick leave: Working from home does not mean “work from home, even if you’re sick.” Provide paid sick days so your team can get healthy before returning to work.

Cover childcare costs: With schools closed across the state, many parents need additional support. We are offering our team members $10/hour for up to 40 hours/week to pay for childcare services. It is very difficult to maintain productivity while working from home and caring for children, so this benefit is a win-win for employee morale and workplace efficiency.

Be empathic: The current situation might not worry you, but that doesn’t mean your team members aren’t scared. They may have family in heavily impacted areas or loved ones who are especially vulnerable to this virus. Your support is invaluable, and it won’t cost you a dime.

Our local business owners have an opportunity to be leaders in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community. These are just a few examples of how you can help. If you have ideas of other ways to offer support, please share!

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Alan Moore