Businesses Encourage Employees to Work From Home to Contain Spread of Coronavirus

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Chicago-area employees are being extra cautious and vigilant, with permission and even encouragement from companies to work from home if they need to, as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the state of Illinois.

“You can tell everyone's very uneasy, when you hear someone sneeze or cough,” said a Plaza worker, Stephanie Beauvois.

Prudential building management sent an email Wednesday to leadership in the massive skyscraper saying an employee “at One Pru has tested positive for COVID-19.” It goes on to say “the employee has not returned to the property since feeling ill last Thursday.”

They encouraged tenant leadership in the area to consider work from home programs if possible.

“We have two very important meetings,” explained business owner Frederick Blackmon. “We can institute wearing masks, stay certain distance away, make sure you wash your hands.”

The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times are both encouraging work-from-home options.

“It’s here it’s happening,” said a Prudential worker, Miller Stichnoth. “You just have to be prepared and don't panic because panicking is what's making everything worse.”

CME Group announced Wednesday evening that it will close the Chicago Trading Floor on Friday at the close of business, while the Wacker Drive headquarters remains open.

Google told all of its North American employees to work from home for a month, including those in Chicago's Fulton Market.

In addition, McDonalds announced the company has decided to pay corporate owned restaurant employees that are asked to quarantine for 14 days, as they too, proactively monitor the impact of the coronavirus.

Coffee giant Starbucks also said it will offer catastrophe pay and mental health resources to partners who are sick or need to be quarantined so that employees don’t need to choose between work or self-care.

Glassdoor’s blog offered some tips for how to best work from home:

  1. Dress the Part: When you look good, you feel good, and you’ll always be ready to jump on any last-minute video calls.  Get dressed, don’t wear your PJs all day. 
  2. Keep Your Calendar Current: Keeping people appraised of your availability, even if it’s to step away to grab lunch, is especially important when you are not in someone’s direct line of vision.
  3. Know When To Step Away From Your Desk: Everyone needs a break from their screens at some point; step away to recharge and return ready to take on the rest of the day. 
  4. Figure Out How You Focus Best: Whether you need music to cancel everything out or complete silence to concentrate, change your environment accordingly.
  5. Honor Quitting Time: Working remotely can make it hard to set boundaries between work and home. When the day is done, close your laptop and walk away. 
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