COVID-19 Toolkit Checklist
To help your business plan for contingency in the event of shutdown, there are a number of steps you can consider to help you in the transition to home working (where applicable) and protecting the physical and mental wellbeing of your staff across the board. Not all recommendations may apply, but this should help you draw up your own contingency plan – and we can help if you require more assistance.
External communications process planning
· Who is in charge of any incident or issue (eg H&S Officer), and how they can be contacted?
· Do you need to establish a specialised incident team, if so, who, and what are their contact details? How often do you need to meet?
· Critical incident communications – who is in charge? What will any communications need to say? Who needs to know (media, stakeholders, community, customers)? How will you do it (website, emails, calls)?
· If you need to contact a local Health Protection Team (should any cases be suspected or confirmed within your workforce) do you have their details to hand?
· What are the immediate actions that employees should take, whether they are at home or at work, if they start presenting suspected symptoms?
· Who do employees need to alert, how and by when (ie immediately)? Reiterate these details to staff so that they are easily available – and consider multiple routes of communication eg WhatsApp, email, noticeboards, union reps etc
· What are the steps to be taken by management in the event of a confirmed case in the workplace and the supporting communications process? Who needs to speak to who? How will they do it? In what time frame? How will you alert colleagues, visitors or suppliers who might be affected?
· In the event of a major situation, such as multiple cases, what will the management need to do?
Preparing materials both in advance of a case and post-case
- Pre-prepared media statements are advised so they are ready to roll in the event of: an unconfirmed case at work; confirmed cases among the workforce; shut down
- Stakeholder, community, customer briefings
- Website content – in the event of a major critical issue, you may wish to have a prepared microsite, rather than just a page, to go live with FAQs, referrals or sources of help etc
Office or site considerations
· What workplace notices need to be published and what they will communicate? For example, hand washing guidance, what to do if you feel ill etc
· What are the provisions for communal areas; do any changes need to be communicated or made? For example, increased cleansing regimes, use of shared equipment and disinfecting, social distancing measures and avoiding large crowds.
· Do you have visitors? How will you contact them if a case is confirmed within the workforce?
· How will the management team communicate in the event of a confirmed case or major event i.e. shut down?
· Consider reducing all face to face meetings, strategy for shift handovers, policy on shared equipment, eg vehicles or desks, and a hotline for any concerns
As the situation with COVID-19 is rapidly changing, FAQs mean you can set out how you are dealing with the situation in more detail for your stakeholders. It is also key to keeping your staff engaged and productive when there is a constant stream of alarming, and often alarmist, news. You may want to consider providing insight on:
- The situation – are there any cases?
- How it is being dealt with and what measures are in place
- Any effects on your business
- Effects on workers if they have to self-isolate (ie pay and conditions)
Working from Home
· Regular communication with staff is vital – and a key part of productive work and good mental health. Consider how, when and who will be communicating with staff. Even if there is no progress or apparently nothing to say, it’s a vital way to reassure people and provide leadership.
· Government guidance is to work from home if you can. Some workers will be exempt – essential work that requires the person to be present, eg retail, personal services etc. Management teams should look at how they might manage remotely before they are put in the position of being compelled to do so.
· Advance operational considerations:
o Is working from home possible? Is it likely to be temporary or more than a few weeks?
o What equipment will employees need? Not just laptop, but software, phone, broadband or tether capacity, stationery, lighting, seat and desk etc and diversion of phones. Will you let employees use their own mobiles or company ones and is there enough data allowance for this?
o Are there conferencing facilities?
o Does there need to be advanced notice to suppliers / clients / customers?
· Remote internal communications:
o How Isolation can be isolating… how can you minimise this? For example, improving communications between team members with:
§ check in calls - daisy chain calls to all members of the team
§ Buddy systems for regular checks and morale boosting – the water cooler equivalent moment
§ regular am /pm conference calls
§ rota spacing or alternating shift patterns to minimise team contact
o What happens if they are approached by the media or social media? Some staff may not be aware of the social media or media policy and it is essential to reinforce: just because people are working at home does not mean they are not obliged to follow corporate comms policy and the boundaries may need to be reiterated.
o If staff are working from home, what safety measures, if any need to be considered? This could include a specified check in time or other measures to ensure that they are fit and able to work.
o If staff are working from home – and other members of the family or household are at home, what can you do to assist them to have a good working environment? A trial run or team discussion can help iron out issues that can be a barrier to productivity.
· In the event that the business is temporarily closed, consider a staff handbook to cover interim arrangements. At a minimum, it should set out what is expected of them during this time, what they should do if they feel ill, who they should report to if they need to, how managers will keep them informed on the situation and any IT or HR arrangements.