The sudden spread of Coronavirus means businesses could temporarily close and employees may be asked to work from home.
We want to reassure you and your customers that our communication systems will be running as normal if this scenario were to arise.
We can quickly assist in the deployment of home working solutions for your employees and in the majority of cases your employees will be able to take their handset home and plug it into their home network and carry on working if you are using one of our hosted IPPBXs.
This is a fast moving situation and no one is sure what will happen next. We will do all we can to assist you as we have in the past for our customers, For example during the Ash cloud in 2010 where we had customers with key employees ‘stranded’ in overseas locations.
At this time you the opportunity to get plans in place in a orderly and timely manner, Below is some key actions that you plan can be checked against, Its not everything but it is a start.
The increase in public awareness of the emerging situation in respect of the COVID-19 has been accompanied by a general rise in public health concerns and alarmist headlines; many offering irresponsible assessments of the imminent nature of a crisis. Northcott Global Solutions and Fullerton Health contend that, rather than falling victim to ill-informed panic, clients currently have an opportunity to devise and put in place planning strategies that will help them minimise the potential impact to their staff and operations.
As widely reported COVID-19 is a virus that mutated, enabling human-to-human transmission to occur. Intra-country and inter-county spread are likely to occur quickly. Similarities have been made to the SARS outbreak in 2003 although current mortality trends are lower. At the time of the preparation of this brief there are no planning estimates regarding infectivity and there is anecdotal reporting of 2% mortality of those infected.
The experience from the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) gives some insight into what might be expected if the Coronavirus develops into a pandemic:
– School and day care centres were closed, or strict health protocols enforced;
– Staff absenteeism was in excess of 30% (Comment: for companies that have juniors (e.g. supermarkets) in their workforce it can be assumed that absenteeism will be even greater);
– An increased demand on shopping centres;
– Distribution centres and the organisations servicing them were assessed as being the most critical parts of the infrastructure; and
– Companies with an integrated business continuity framework were more able to adapt.
Initial BCP Planning Actions Required that you may wish to consider
– Develop/consolidate existing material and deploy training/guidance for:
– General hygiene including hand cleansing and respiratory etiquette,
– Sanitation and disinfection protocols,
– What to do if you or a staff member develop respiratory and fever like symptoms.
– What to do if your family members develop fever and flu like symptoms.
– Access restrictions to offices and the conduct of meetings in the event a pandemic occurs,
– Food handling and preparation, and
– What families can do to be prepared.
– Identify core activities and how they may be sustained for 4 – 12 weeks whilst in a pandemic cycle (based on historical data assume absenteeism could be as high as 30%).
– Identify the critical dependencies on third parties and review their preparation.
– Identify how to re-organise workplaces to minimise human to human spread
– Utilise the current crisis management team and emergency management teams’ structure for overseeing the response to a pandemic. Rehearse the response to a WHO Phase 6 scenario.
– Review current business continuity processes including:
– Crisis plans, disaster recovery, denial of access, loss of production;
– Alternative management options (virtual, offshore, maintaining a reserve); and
– Travel policy. Monitor travel advisories and issued by FHA-A, WHO and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC).
– Develop a monitoring strategy and identify the triggers for activation of management contingencies focused on the scaling back or cessation of operations. Be prepared to go through some false alarms.
– Review third party relationships and assess their contingencies with essential contractors and suppliers.
– Establish a staff communications strategy that is clear, with the aim being to have a “trusted, reliable and timely communication program in place” should there be a change to WHO alert levels.
– Plan for disruptions to critical services and identify the potential points of failure.
– Identify the HR responses to the reaction to high levels of absenteeism e.g. provision for increases in statutory provisions for sick or carer’s leave.
– Consider establishing a supply of:
– Protective masks or respirators;
– Disposable gloves;
– Hand sanitiser; and
– Alcohol surface wipes.
– People – categorise them into three broad areas:
– Essential – required at office (e.g. IT maintainers, treasury);
– Essential – can work remotely (connectivity required);
– Non-essential – can be stood down (for up to two weeks) if required; and
– Assessment should include coverage, single points of failure, decision-making capability and autonomy.
We would advise you to go to one of our customers websites https://www.northcottglobalsolutions.com/latest-news/ for upto date information and advice and assistance for your staff members travelling overseas.