1. Take a staff inventory: divide it into three groups. First, what people have to be in the office; second, who can work at home and third, those who have to be in the office and can work at home.
For the first group: tell them why they need to be in the office. Make sure to increase cleanliness and disinfect all shared surfaces such as: elevator buttons, electronic devices, coffeemakers, light switches, any handles or doors. Ask them to wash their hands regularly and avoid physical contact.
For the second group: send them home but first tell them that their work time should be respected as much as possible. That is to say; if they work from 9 a.m. at 6 p.m. and they have lunch from 1 to 2 p.m., it will be the same as they should do at home. But be flexible because they may have children to take care.
For the third group: depending on their duties if they need to be in the office; for example, once a week because it’s really necessary, try to rotate them. In this way, fewer people in the office will be better at preventing illness.
For any employee who becomes ill, it should be informed immediately to assist the person with the medical process and cover that person’s work. Coordination is key to keeping employees safe and the business running.
2. Monitor the employees’ situation: each area or department Head must monitor everyday how the employees are, no matter where they are and must report daily to the CEO. This is not just for coronavirus; remember that other problems may arise such as: frustration, tension, worries, loneliness, fear. If possible, organize a conference call or use some other tool where people can see each other (for example Skype), at least once a week. Not just to stay up-to-date on what's happening at work, but for employees to share what they're living. Those little sessions can help everyone a lot.
Keep in mind: it's easy to lose balance when changing a dynamic; for example working at home when it was not done. Maintaining contact can avoid feeling isolated or any other negative feelings.
3. Analyze the things the company needs to be able to operate. This covers any third party that works for the company (suppliers, consultants, distributors, etc.) to cleaners, soap, stationery, etc. Talk to third parties about what they plan to do so that you can also know what to expect from them and how this may or may not affect the company's supply chain, and therefore the products or services the company offers.
4. Train employees with reliable sources and keep them regularly updated on what is happening in your country and what the company is doing. Check what the health authorities are saying. Informed people can prevent other crises like panic; don't let uncertainty create insecurity. And train them in cybersecurity to prevent data breaches and phishing, especially now that criminals are taking advantage of this pandemic and people's fear to scam.
5. Cancel any trip, conference, meeting, event that is not necessary. The goal is to limit employees’ exposure to more people to minimize contagion.
6. Pause any contract or business plan that may be affected. There is still no specific date on when the pandemic will be minimized. Therefore, anything that is not critical must be thought twice about being hired or carried out.
7. Make a daily backup of company data: this includes emails, figures, and documents. Since many of the employees will work at home, it is important to support their work. Whether it's done manually or automatically, make sure everything is fine. Are they working using a company laptop or their own? Their mobile? Are they sending an Excel document or accessing the company system remotely? What control measures does the company have to mitigate any risk of information security?
The main goal of the contingency plan is to make the transition from what was physically carried out in the office and is now done remotely in the best possible way. And of course, that the company's operations continue. Giving security and support to employees will also help that productivity doesn’t decrease and the company stays alive in the face of this coronavirus pandemic.