COVID-19 has caught companies and industries off guard, with a shockwave of ripple effects tearing through their supply chains and business models. The challenges faced by workplaces have become a new front in the battle over the coronavirus.
Corporations around the world are grappling with how to best keep employees safe, while trying to ensure optimal utilization of their staff and business continuity— by asking employees to work-from-home, creating tag teams, etc.
According to a survey conducted by People Matters across India and South East Asia in March 2020, we found that only 38 percent of companies rated themselves as well or very well-prepared to support employees and their families and less than 50 percent of respondents have a cross-functional COVID-19 response team in place.
This article is the (2/4) part of the guide, COVID-19: Responding to people & work implications - A step by step guide by People Matters. This guide by People Matters will help you plan, prepare and respond to people & work implications due to COVID-19.
Here is a list of things you should consider doing in-line with your local government advisory:
- Have a dedicated crisis management crossfuntional team to track and monitor the situation and update authorities and employees on further steps
- Develop policies proactively which adheres to public health recommendations and workplace laws.
- Set policies for remote working or work-from-home, pay and reimbursement for any activities during work-from-home
- Have a clear policy around essential and non-essential travel bans and process on managing employees who are travelling, came back from outside, employees working in a contained area
- Set sign-off process for policy change
- Select communication channel (email, mail, text messages, hotlines and internal systems) and set protocols to communicate early and often
- Establish two-way communication with employees
- Signage to help reinforce hygiene, screening and other organizational policies
- Leverage social media for public messages
Work from home:
- Identify the critical roles and departments that can be offered work from home
- Develop policies and management for roles which can be offered work from home
- Analyze the infrastructure needs for remote employees and other working models
- Frame and implement policies around pay, health and benefits for people working remotely and work-from-home
- Follow travel restrictions and advisory released by your country’s government
- Defer all non-essential business travels- local or international
- Employees who have returned from affected regions or other countries, offer them a necessary quarantine for at least 14 days.
- Offer necessary support to employees who are residing in contained areas for business activities
- Sanitize workplace and common areas frequently
- Encourage social distancing and non-handshake greetings
- Limit meeting size and encourage virtual meetings
- Avoid employees to attend any business and learning events
- Close on-site gyms, cafeterias and common areas
- Implement shifts to reduce overcrowding
- Temporarily close office areas in affected areas
- Discontinue biometrics and technologies that requires multiple individual interaction
Engaging with medical experts, health bodies and government
- Get your mitigation plan reviewed by medical experts
- Engage with your legal experts to review your people and work management policies
- Follow your local government portals to keep track of advisories and policies
- Follow and monitor the situation as released by World Health Organization
Setting up a crisis management team
- Set up the basic protocols and guidelines for this team
- Every member of the team, from executive leadership down, should know who is doing what.
- Cross-train team members to perform critical functions in the event of an unexpected absence or quarantine of another team member
- The team should prepare a contingency plan. It is essential that the crisis plan outlines how information will flow and that everyone has confidence in its veracity. Strong data also reinforces a central element of crisis planning, exploring different scenarios and how they could affect the business in the short, medium and long term
- Make sure your crisis team have further sub teams that:
(A) Public relations and communications teams: They’re responsible for developing and delivering the organisation’s messaging internally and externally.
(B) Legal and regulatory teams: Their role is to understand the organisation’s risk exposures and advise on appropriate responses.
(C) Operational response teams: They essentially handle everything else – including establishing the facts that the other two groups need to do their jobs.
Our perspective is based on our analysis of our recent survey, People Matters COVID-19 Impact & Measures Survey- March 2020, and interaction with industry experts. This perspective is current as of March 22nd, 2020. We will update it regularly as the outbreak evolves.