Tips for SMBs amid the pandemic

By Carlos Ledo

The COVID-19 crisis is wreaking havoc on small and mid-sized business across South Florida. In a month’s time, the pandemic completely changed day-to day life, from shopping and traveling to going to work and running businesses. The result? Office closures, layoffs, furloughs and ever-changing guidance at the local, state and federal level.

Carlos Ledo is assistant general counsel and a human resources consultant for Engage PEO

For small and medium-sized business owners trying to stay afloat, worrying about HR, compliance and safety issues is incredibly overwhelming.

Here are several key practices that employers can keep in mind in order to keep their businesses running as normally as possible:

How to manage risk and safety concerns (e.g., how to protect employees if you can’t close your business)

  • If a company is required to remain open or chooses to continue operations, employees should follow the recommendations set out by federal, state, and local government concerning: social distancing, handwashing, and overall monitoring of their individual health.

How to manage paid leave and sick leave policies

  • Employers should honor their current sick leave and paid time off policies if they are open for business. Thus, employees should be allowed to take their PTO if requested and cash out their PTO if they decide to resign (if that is company policy). Additionally, employers who continue operations—even if using a telecommuting model for the foreseeable future—must be aware of the new paid leave policies put into place by the federal government via recent legislation. The new EPSLA (Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act) and EFMLEA (Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act) provide a paid leave framework for specific classes of employees affected by the virus. It is highly recommended that employers speak with their human resources team and/or employment counsel to ensure compliance with these new acts.

How to effectively communicate with employees regarding benefits, potential reduction in workforce and more

  • Employers should establish communication plans to ensure their employees receive critical alerts, memos, or other essential company communications during this time. Additionally, employers must prepare to communicate any changes in operations in clear, concise, and uniform manner to their staff. Finally, employers should ask their human resources staff and/or employment counsel for guidance on how to implement operational changes and communicate those changes to employees. 

Tips on managing a remote workforce

  • Managing a remote workforce can be a challenge for any organization. However, by creating clear task-based objectives and monitoring employee work product, employers can help mitigate the risk of productivity loss and ensure their workforce stays engaged.

How can businesses adjust current HR policies to reflect this “new normal”

  • Companies should not compromise their operational standards but must remain flexible in their approach to how work gets done moving forward. Thus, HR policies and guidelines should still be adhered to and enforced, but how those policies are carried out can be fluid.

Carlos Ledo is assistant general counsel and a human resources consultant for Engage PEO


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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.