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Coronavirus – Is your business ready?

Coronavirus – Is your business ready? 

As the cases of Coronavirus rise across the UK, we are beginning to see drastic action being taken with regards to major events, and these changes can happen rapidly. You only have to look at the Premier League, who announced on Thursday last week that all games would go ahead as normal. However 12 hours later they announced all fixtures have been delayed until at least the 3rd of April. With changes happening so rapidly we are asking the question, is your business ready if, like Italy the UK goes into full isolation.

What we’re doing:

At SMAS Worksafe we have started to take measures, just in case the worst is thrown at us and we suggest your business starts planning too. Last week we split all of our teams in half and on Thursday one half worked from home, with the other half working from home on Friday. This allowed us to spot and deal with any issues we faced and plan our strategy to keep the business running at as close to maximum capacity as possible should the office need to be closed.

By splitting our workforce in half, we were able to have people in the office just in case we needed them. Next week we will be running a day where everyone is told to work from home so we can spot any issue that may cause and take the required actions. Things are moving quickly with the spread of Coronavirus and we don’t want to be caught cold.

Our suggestions:

We suggest that if possible, you do a few trial days in which you tell staff to work from home. If the UK government enforce a nationwide rule about isolation at least you will have some idea on what capacity your business is able to operate at, which you can then broadcast to your customers helping them to understand why certain services aren’t functioning, for example you may no longer be able to take phone payments.

The Government announced today that they would be giving daily updates on their plan. Business and employer guidance can be found here. 

 Staff wellbeing:

Your business may decide to shut down prior to any UK laws being enforced and this is something that we are looking at ourselves, however as we’re based in Plymouth the threat is currently not as great as areas such as London. If your business is in a location where the volume of infected people is higher you may wish to ask staff to work from home to help reduce
their chances of being infected, especially if they are able to operate at close to 100%.

It is also the responsibility of you as an employer to make sure you staff are looked after. If the government do enforce a law then you
will have little choice but to send staff home, but if measures haven’t been taken to allow them to work from home and your business shuts down they may be forced onto statutory pay, when they could have worked from home. Not only is this a big inconvenience for them but also you, as you’re now having to close your business or an area of your business because you weren’t prepared.

 Our verdict:

Of course, it is your decision to remain open or close for now, but if there is drastic measures taken, we suggest you have done at least
some planning to allow your business to run as smoothly as possible should we face a 2 week period where it is advised to stay in isolation.

Trialling staff working from home has been great for us and we have been able to fix several issues we found, put in place fixes or alternatives that will allow us to remain operating close to 100% and we would recommend you look at doing something similar. 

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