Coronavirus (Covid-19): Is your organisation prepared?

Coronavirus (Covid-19): Is your organisation  prepared?

Coronavirus (Covid-19): Is your organisation prepared?

As more Coronavirus (Covid-19) cases are detected outside of China, there is a greater need to monitor the impact of the outbreak. Now declared a pandemic by the WHO, Covid-19 outbreak has led to drastic, if temporary, changes in living dynamics. Serious concerns of immigration, employment, health and safety for employees, etc. have been raised. While we are regularly updated on the spread and impact of the coronavirus, employers worldwide must act now to ensure that their employees are at zero or minimum risk of contracting the illness. Waiting for the infection to arrive without taking necessary action has proven detrimental to nations like Iran and Italy where thousands have contracted the infection, which could have been easily avoided.

Increasing Awareness:
Whereas the Governments worldwide are battling the epidemic on developing a cure as well as precautionary fronts, organizations have an utmost responsibility to ensure that all sections and classes of the public are aware of the precautions to minimise the spreading of the infection. Latest governmental advise is available online, nevertheless implementation regarding increased awareness has to be thorough on all levels. Employers have to make sure that all employees know the following:
- People most vulnerable to the infection include anyone aged 60 and above, pregnant women, children and adults with weakened immune systems and conditions such a heart or respiratory illnesses.
- The spread of the disease can be halted by staying at home and by avoiding public places.
- It is mandatory for travellers coming from gravely affected nations to go through thorough health check-ups at the airport and stay isolated from others for minimum 10 days.

Business Travel:
As governments worldwide are strictly advising against all travel, employers need to make sure that their employees avoid all but only the most indispensable trips. Also, their international employees working in affected countries must strongly advised to withdraw all non-essential travel and remain indoors as much as possible.

Withdrawing Presenteeism:
Employers worldwide have withdrawn employee presenteeism to combat the spread of the infection. As the positive cases are increasing exponentially, it is absolutely crucial for the employees to remain indoors and try to work from home, in which regard the HR must ensure that employees have an appropriate secure login systems at home to be able to work. The HR must also act rapidly and effectively to help prevent and/or contain the virus among the workforce. The approach towards containing the infection must be proactive at all times. Managers and employees must be precisely and directly briefed on the importance and staying home and minimizing social interactions.

Policy Assessment:
The HR must take this rationale to set up enhanced policies for the employees. These shall cover major relevant clauses like:
- Statutory Sick Pay
- Reporting Sick Time
- Flexible Time
- Remote Work Policies and documentation
- Policies for onsite and travelling employees

The employers need to aware of various legal considerations when considering health and crisis management planning that may be affecting their organizations. New and upcoming cases must be documented. The HR must take thorough steps to disseminate all mandatory info to all employees by all necessary means, including timely webinars on giving regular updates about the spread of the infection. All such webinars must be made mandatory to attend for all employees. Employers must ensure that all employees partner willingly and cooperate with HR at every step of the way during all such exercises.

Spreading with no symptoms:
Coronavirus is a respiratory illness having symptoms similar to common cold or flu. However it has been known to spread even during its incubation period (period when no symptoms appear) of 14 days. Many such recent cases have been found and documented, mostly in Europe. This makes controlling the infection difficult and temperature screenings at the airport for such cases are highly unreliable. Employers must play an important role in disseminating such info through the workforce, all while maintaining necessary hygiene and washing hands.

Next steps:
Platforms like Complygate are crucial to maintain functional ease regarding smooth onboarding of interim processes, policies and compliances which is absolutely imperative throughout Covid-19 - affected zones. All organizational processes and policies must smoothly transition for ease of documentation, which can be carried out in HR dashboards using relevant templates. Data regarding employees, emerging patterns of the infection, latest cases, etc., need to be documented and directly communicated if we are to successfully defeat the spread of Covid-19.


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