At Howells we always have the health and safety of our clients and staff at heart and, in the midst of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we have created a simple guide on how to protect your business during the situation.
If any clients are concerned about their upcoming meetings or consultations with us, they can call our switchboard on 0114 249 66 66 for up to date information.
Self-isolation and sick pay
The government has stated that an employee or worker should receive any Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) due to them if they need to self-isolate because they have:
- coronavirus (usually 14 days of self-isolation)
- a high temperature or new continuous cough (usually 7 days of self-isolation)
- been told to self-isolate by a doctor or NHS 111
- Employers might offer more than SSP – ‘contractual’ sick pay. Find out more about sick pay.
If an employee or worker cannot work, they should tell their employer:
- as soon as possible
- the reason
- how long they’re likely to be off for
The employer might need to be flexible if they require evidence from the employee or worker. For example, someone might not be able to provide a sick note (‘fit note’) if they’ve been told to self-isolate for 14 day
Educate your staff
Make sure you send regular updates to your teams, highlighting ways to prevent the spread of the virus and information given by the local government. Keep your eyes on the regular updates regarding School closures, changes to public transport and any changes to local events that may affect your business and staff.
Prepare a communication strategy
If you own a business or work in communications for a firm, prepare for incoming questions and answers from customers and staff. Draft templated responses for your emails and phone calls with information you expect your customers and staff will be looking for. Make sure your Marketing, Customer Service and HR departments are fully up-to-date and informed on the situation in your local area, and the plans your business has to react (if any). Also consider utilising instant messaging platforms, such as instant or direct messenger on social media sites or Whatsapp to allow your customers to contact you quickly and conveniently.
Assign an ‘Emergency Action’ team
Assign individuals to take the lead with making sure your business is protected if the worse was to happen. These individuals can be responsible for organising all critical documents and making backups of all systems and files, prioritising files so they can be quickly accessed in an emergency, make your documents accessible if you can’t access your business and put business continuity plans in place so you can continue making money if you can’t access your premises. Also consider contacting your suppliers and asking for access to their resilience plan to consider how your business would be affected if their business falls into problems.
IT Resilience Planning
It’s a good time to refresh your IT resilience plan and identify essential software and applications needed to operate the business away from the business premises. Document and digitise any emergency procedures and refresh your teams on these. Also make-sure all your data is backed up.
Keep yourself informed
Stay up to date with credible, official guidance, such as the NHS website and World Health Organisation (WHO). These organisations respond quickly to developments. Be aware of scare mongering, especially on Social Media platforms, as the advice and news given may not be accurate or up-to-date.
You can find the UK Governments Coronavirus (COVID-19) action plan here.
You can keep up to date with information on the UK coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk here.