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.
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.
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.