Blog/Industry News

How to Use SMS to Communicate Requirements and Coronavirus Notices to Employees

Learn the most effective way to comply with your state-specific coronavirus work policy by using SMS to reach employees fast.

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Two essential requirements of a Coronavirus employee communication system are speed and reliability.

With 90% of messages opened within the first three minutes—and 98% opened overall—texting is the most efficient way to communicate time-sensitive messages to employees. 

In many states, COVID restrictions for businesses are tightening.

Effective communication of updated policies to staff could be the difference between whether your doors remain open or closed for business. 

And when the risk of endangering your team due to a potential exposure can come down to a matter of minutes, you can’t afford to wait for email, word of mouth, or a phone tree to do the job. 

In order to stop the spread, protect your employees, and communicate the most up to date regulations, you need SMS. 

How to Send a Coronavirus Notice to Employees

Thanks to mass texting tools, it’s easy to send one message to all your employees within seconds. 

In many states, like California for example, new legislation requires employers to notify employees and contractors in the event of a “potential exposure” to COVID-19 in their workplaces. 

This includes when an employee…

  • Has a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19
  • Received a positive coronavirus diagnosis from a licensed healthcare provider
  • Was ordered to isolate because of the virus
  • Has died from COVID-19
  • Was exposed at the workplace to anyone in the above categories

Within 1 business day of being told about the potential exposure, the employer must provide written notice to employees. 

Thankfully, text message is an approved form of written communication!* 

To mitigate the risk of employee exposure, here’s how to send a COVID notice text message. 

1. Gather Employee Phone Numbers

First, upload your employees’ phone numbers to SimpleTexting.

If you don’t already have their mobile numbers (and permission to text them) you can use a keyword to get everyone access. 

A keyword is a short word or phrase that, when texted in to your number, signs you up to receive text messages. For example, you could instruct employees to text “CovidAlert” to 833-675-1234. 

If your business doesn’t already have a text-enabled phone number, we can set you up with a complimentary toll-free line, or text-enable your existing business landline. 

2. Segment Your Lists

From here, you can organize, or segment, your subscribers into lists based on locations, departments, shifts, etc. This can make it easier to organize if you need to contact a large group of specific employees at once. 

If your employees subscribe via keyword, you can use data collection to sort them into groups automatically. 

Anytime someone texts in the keywords they’ll automatically be sent the data collection messages and sorted accordingly!

Today 8:25 AM
Thanks for signing up for Dunder Mifflin’s employee COVID alert system. Please reply with your first and last name.
Jim Halpert
Which branch do you work at?

3. Send Your Messages

Once your subscriber list is established, you’re ready to text your team. You can do this a few different ways. 

  • Mass message: Send one text out to all your employees, or particular groups, at once. We call this a campaign.
    Today 9:00 AM
    Dunder Mifflin Scranton. Please be sure to fill out the COVID vaccine interest form by Friday!
  • Chat 1-on-1: If you need to reach out to a specific employee with a message, you can text them directly from your inbox. SimpleTexting is a two-way communication platform. Not only can employees text you back, but incoming SMS messages are free!
    Hi Ryan, please send us a photo of the results of your negative COVID test before you return to work on Monday. 

    Today 8:25 AM
    Hi Ryan, please send us a photo of the results of your negative COVID test before you return to work on Monday. 
    Here you go
  • Schedule messages: If you have a message you know you need to send at a particular time/date in the future, you can schedule it to send out in advance. This goes for both campaigns and 1-on-1 messages! 

Even if your state doesn’t have rapid response laws in place, the CDC’s best practice guidelines encourage strong and reliable communication from employers to employees regarding all things COVID. 

Have any questions about setting your company up with SMS? Feel free to request a demo, or start your 14-day free trial here

*This article is for informational purposes only, it is not a substitute for legal advice. Please note the statement in reference relates to California regulations initiated on 1/1/21, which are subject to change at any time. Please seek legal advice for your state for the most up to date COVID communication policies. 

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