Companies still not prepared to respond to COVID-19 people and business implications
Coronavirus is a pandemic outbreak that has caught companies and industries off guard, with a shockwave of ripple effects tearing through their supply chains and businesses. The challenges faced by workplaces have become a new front in the battle over the coronavirus.
Right now, corporations around the world are brainstorming on how to best keep employees safe, while trying to ensure optimal utilization of their staff - for instance, by asking employees to work-from-home, creating tag teams, etc.
Facing economic uncertainty, companies have to find ways to better utilize their workforce and make sure they are adapting to their changing business needs. People Matters, in an attempt to bring more clarity on how organizations are managing this situation, launched the People Matters COVID-19 Impact & Measures Survey – March 2020 survey across India and Southeast Asia. The survey has already captured the responses from over 200 organizations and will be open until Tuesday 17th March.
The key themes that emerge from the questions raised by the survey are:
63 percent of organizations have already implemented a work-from-home policy for their employees. And 98 percent of companies who haven’t offered work-from-home will implement it if they see the situation deteriorating in the coming days.
While companies do see this practice as one of the effective measures to ensure safety, there still persists a long chain of questions being worked out as this shift occurs - motivation, alignment, connectivity, etc. This is especially going to be challenging for the manufacturing sector, as there are certain roles that could not be performed remotely.
Pay policy for affected employees:
The survey asked participants if they have a pay policy for employees who cannot opt for work-from-home but have been asked to stay away from the work environment. Only 22 percent of companies said they have a pay policy in place. Among those 22 percent, most companies are offering salary under the current leave policy. However, few companies shared that they have extended a special pay leave of 14 and in some cases 28 days.
The survey found that most organizations are still not ready to face the crisis that can arise. Only 38 percent of companies agreed that they are well or very well-prepared with policies that can support employees and their families and 46 percent of respondents so far have a cross-functional COVID-19 response team in place. Organizations’ efforts seem to be sporadic right now given the uncertainty, but they are acknowledging the situation and actively taking steps to protect employees and streamline business continuity.
Practices like a consistent communication plan in times of crisis (82 percent), suspending non-essential business travels (85 percent), and sanitizing workplaces on a more frequent basis (80 percent) have become a requisite.
Different practices that organizations are emphasizing on include reiterating and over-communicating policies around safety/precautions (58 percent), quarantining employees who recently visited highly affected areas (50 percent), restricting outside visitors/third parties (45 percent), quarantining employees exposed to confirmed cases (41 percent), and monitoring temperature of all employees at the entrance to the building (38 percent).
Travel and meetings:
About 85 percent respondents have suspended non-essential business travel internationally and domestically, and another 45 percent have restricted outside visitors and third parties.
About 75 percent organizations that participated in the survey have agreed that the outbreak of COVID-19 has halted critical business activities (traveling, meetings, etc.)
The outbreak is moving quickly and businesses need to be agile and take timely and right actions. People Matters is actively reaching out to organizations to understand how the world of work and people can be managed during the times of uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Participate in the survey, People Matters COVID-19 Measures & Impact Survey- March 2020 now, as it closes tomorrow i.e. Tuesday, 17th March.