As organisations scrambled to respond to the unexpected, and competing priorities and drastically altered budgets meant tough decisions that impacted the livelihoods ...
The health and wellbeing of our people and the broader community are paramount to Insync. Here’s a guidance and response plan we’ve communicated with our team, and one that you might like to use as a reference for your own organisation.
- Review the content and wording and adjust to best suit internal messaging tone/posture
- Get it out to the whole team and seek confirmation replies that it has been read and understood
- Be ready to update the guidance as circumstances change (e.g. transportation lock down or similar impacts)
“An inability to predict what might happen next is no excuse for not preparing for what could happen.”
There is a lot of info out there about Coronavirus or Covid-19/C19 as it is also called. The real question for Australian organisations is what to do about it with the information we have to hand?
Your leadership team puts your health and wellbeing as the most important priority during this time. However, to get the best outcome we must all play our part.
OUR RESPONSE PLAN
There are 4 areas where we need to do this.
- Reducing the risk through good hygiene and business practices
- Acting quickly when we see signs
- Getting better at working remotely
- Only rely on credible C19 information
Let’s run through each area for key actions.
1. Reducing the risk through good hygiene and business practices. This means:
- Washing hands often, with soap and water, and carrying hand sanitiser and using it as needed
- Always wash your hands when first entering the office and when arriving home
- Covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing, but not using your hands to do so. Sneeze into your elbow if need be. Throw all tissues away immediately into closed bin
- Avoid close proximity and limit our direct personal contact with clients or other members of the general public (e.g. decline handshakes, hugs, etc)
- Use alcohol wipes to clean your smartphone, as well as desk phone, keyboard, mouse etc if you share desks
- Take turns wiping down meeting room desks/phones/door handles/surfaces/chairs every day with alcohol wipes
- Wash all dishes in the dishwasher and use paper towels not clothes or tea towels in kitchens
- From today, or as soon as physically practicable after that, avoid public transport. Work from home is the default position but you can go into the office if you wish and for good reason as long as you can avoid public transport
- We will cover the cost of Uber or Taxi if required to get to the office – but even then ensure you consider personal hygiene whilst using these services
- If you do have to travel on public transport then do so outside peak times, be super alert to personal hygiene and wash your hands as soon as you can after travel and before touching anything in the office
- If you can travel to work by bike/walk then feel free to do so – it is public transport infection risk we are trying to minimise
- If you do come to the office then need to avoid public spaces and bring your own lunch for example
- If you travel overseas (work/holiday/other) then you must work from home (WFH) or remotely for 14 days on return – this is now a legal requirement
- Avoid attending large groups/forums unless absolutely necessary – if unavoidable focus on personal space, disciplined hygiene, and limited contact time
- Where possible use Zoom/conference calls to meet and supplier or client and team needs (clients are also trying to manage their exposure)
- Avoid all air travel unless discussed with your manager and deemed necessary (should be avoidable)
- While public transport remains the biggest vector for transmission the advice is that until community transmission rates reach a certain threshold then there is no government mandated need to avoid public transport yet (will be monitoring closely as this is the biggest impact for most of us getting to work)
2. Acting quickly when we see signs
- Stay at home if unwell and seek medical attention if necessary (e.g. fevers / chills / aches / fatigue, actively runny nose, persistent cough, sore throat, shortness of breath)
- If in doubt – self-isolate and seek medical guidance. Do not just show up at work or even a GP practice – call ahead for advice
- Remember that Panadol, ibuprofen and other medications can mask infection symptoms
- Encourage others to follow these guidelines if they are unsure or hesitant
- Monitor those around you – family and friends and be alert to minimise contact – removing yourself but also advising others if you think there might be an issue
Where you can work from home – and most people should be able to – then this is now the preference over working in the office.
Note that if you are required to stay home – in quarantine with no symptoms or dealing with potential C19 – and are not able to work, then you will be able to use personal leave (sick leave/carers leave etc) for this period. Individual cases where this is problematic can be sorted with your manager.
3. Getting better at working remotely
- Take your laptop home with you every night (if you need it to work remotely) – a workplace lockout might have no notice period
- Ensure you have everything you need to work from home/remote (don’t forget power packs, mouse, appropriate screen etc)
- If you need any help with WFH setup or equipment let us know
- WFH user guides (including how to locally sync SharePoint folders for faster access etc) will be shared asap
- Ensure your workspace is appropriate, meets basic ergonomic requirements, has good light and ventilation
- Ensure you have your phone set up with contact numbers you need or you know how to access all contact details/files/work wherever you need it
- Learn how to use the basic apps like Zoom and ensure installed on your laptop
- We will sort home Wi-Fi/data plans if your current home plan does not have required capacity (should be unlikely however)
4. Only rely on credible C19 information
- Only use validated sources for C19 updates. Stay updated using reliable information sources such as government websites (e.g. www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus, www.smartraveller.gov.au, www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-01/coronavirus-update-how-to-protect-yourself-from-outbreak/11918302, and news sources like ABC
- Don’t believe everything you read on social media or even syndicated news sites
- If you are unsure you can contact your manager to ask questions.
Even on the mildest scenario set out in the authoritative medical advice C19 is going to have a big but hopefully short-lived impact on us all.
It is important that we all follow this guidance, updated from time to time, to protect ourselves, each other, family and friends and our broader communities.