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Coronavirus Update: Business Continuity Plans & The People Strategy

Introduction

On Monday 16 March 2020, the Director of Public Health issued further advice in the wake of the ever changing coronavirus situation the island is facing. Among this advice, businesses were informed of the need to enact their business continuity plans where appropriate and be ready to change their working practices and implement, for example, home working.

The States of Guernsey have issued Business Continuity Planning advice to assist businesses with setting up a plan. Focus has put together the below guidance to complement the States of Guernsey’s advice, detailing what employers should be thinking about from a people management perspective.

Identify a Team Lead

Identify a coordinator and central team within your company to allocate defined roles and responsibilities for preparedness and response planning. Think about cascading information and notification requirements including who will be responsible for each action item and team.

Managing Demand Levels – Assessing Business Needs and Service Demands

Review existing services and consider allocating staff to roles which may have a higher demand on services. Cross training teams as soon as possible and updating procedures is also important at this time. There may also be merit is adjusting employees work duties and hours to meet the present business and client needs and ensuring this is communicated to each of them.

Should you have a phased implementation plan, think about how many staff will be needed to perform a relevant function or role and whether that role will be done from the workplace or at home.

Consider how and at what stage you will alter business operations such as reducing operations as necessary should the need arise. This should include nominating deputies for key employees in advance, in case of absence and establishing critical and non-critical functions and allocating appropriate resources to these.

Staff Policies

If not already actioned, review your Sickness and Flexible Working Policies to help people to prepare and understand what is expected of them and how they will work in practice. Such policies may need to be amended during this period. Ensure amendments can be justified from a businesses and reasonableness perspective. Think about when to employ measures such as social distancing in the workplace or separating teams with some working from home on a rotating basis.

Should home working become a reality, ensure that staff are aware that during working hours their contractual responsibilities remain in effect. This includes any policies and procedures within the staff handbook. Also ensure that any hygiene policies implemented in the workplace as precautionary measures continue to be followed in the home working environment.

Infrastructure and Equipment

Prior to invoking home or remote working, it is important to check whether your employees have the equipment at home to be able to perform their role such as a laptop with suitable virus protection and security enabled on it. Similarly internet routers used by staff in their home should also be password protected.

Should a third party provide your IT remote infrastructure, ensure that the system has capacity for increased demand and whether they will have the resources to support your employees working remotely.

Communicating with Employees

Ensure employees are aware of the plan and what is required of them. Develop a plan as to how you will continue communicating. This could be implementing additional web conferencing platforms to assist with team communications and meetings, and exploring instant messaging services from mobile phones and group calling applications to be able to hold team meetings while people are working remotely.

Further Information

Should you have any questions on the above, please contact a member of the Focus team who would be happy to help. We have been assisting with employers policies to date and can also help with the employee related matters in relation to business continuity plans.

Remote Working Essentials

Focus are due to be holding a group call with our clients to discuss how to make remote working effective and answer your questions. This will be an opportunity to gauge what other businesses are doing at present to ensure that your strategy is proportionate, measured and practical. It will also be a forum to get and share ideas from other like minded businesses which you may not have already thought of.

A call will be taking place on Thursday 19 March 2020 at 12:00 – 12:45pm.We will not be charging our clients for this call as a gesture of good will. If interested please contact [email protected]. Further calls can be arranged should the proposed time not be suitable for attendees.

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