A pandemic is a potential threat to an organization in it’s own ways. A potential pandemic can cause chaos amongst business resources in function. The following suggested steps can help ensure resource management as part of pandemic preparedness within an enterprise.
1. Identify high risk employees of the organization: Recent travel records of employees shall be scanned to detect high risk employees as those who have lately visited affected countries or regions. Information shall be gathered from employees to determine if family members or close relatives of the employees have been to affected areas.
2. Assist sick employees to engage in work from home: This includes supporting high risk employees with flexible hours and providing work arrangements to employees who need to work remotely.
3. Managing material supply: Alternative arrangements of supply of goods and their timely delivery need to be made in case the deliverables are coming from or routed through compromised areas/regions.
4. Arrange infrastructure support: If organization is situated in a high alert area, infrastructure transfer arrangements need to made along with defining a mobile workforce in order to maintain continuity of business.
5. Supervising, monitoring and restricting: Travel plans of employees to high risk regions/ affected countries should be monitored or if necessary restricted until the cessation of the pandemic begins. Arrangements including quarantine or safer travel routes need to be considered for employees who are already present in affected areas alongside abiding by Indian Health Ministry’s guidelines.
6. Defining minimum operational dependencies: Enterprises can determine minimum strength and distribution of responsibilities in that regard, that can support business continuity and recovery of business resources and procedures in case of damage. Also define critical business functions that can be separated from other functions.
7. Continuity plan and cross training: A dedicated team including a Business Continuity Manager and Crisis Management team in accordance with Business Units should be working closely to take over from sick authorities who need to make important decisions for the organization. Representative staff must be aware what is expected of them
8. Training, meetings and conferences: Help spread awareness among employees about sanitation and disease prevention by means of trainings, meetings and conferences. Employees must be kept updated about latest news and information about the advancement/ cessation of the pandemic.
9. Promote de-contamination practices within the organization: This includes situating hygiene tools(sanitizers, masks, stock of sanitization equipments, thermal screenings) and promoting hygiene practices within the premises of the organization(such as frequent sanitization of workplaces).
10. Emergency measures: Keep staff informed about emergency procedures and update them with emergency helpline numbers. Also, update medical inventory of the organization for immediate relief in case of medical distress.
11. Communication: Organization should be well communicated with health departments in order to receive updates about the pandemic and as well with employees while conveying about conditions and continuity plans as accurate as possible.
12. Review of absence and pay policies: Determine minimum absenteeism percentage and other Policies stating employee management with respect to sick leave, nonattendance, travel policies, salary, etc., can be reviewed for healthy employees.
13. Meetings with visitors who travel often or have visited affected zones recently, should be minimized or replaced with e-meetings to reduce risk of exposure towards the organization’s employees.
14. Follow advisories issued by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, some of which include:
-Restrictions imposed on Indian travelers to refrain travelling to/from China.
-Invalidate visas (including eVisa) of forieign nationals returning from China.
-Quarantine upon return of individuals henceforth travelling to China.
-If any sample of an individual showing symptoms is tested negative, he/she monitored for 14 days after their last contact with a confirmed 2019-nCoV case.
-In a confirmed case, the individual has to be discharged after chest radiograph has cleared and two specimens turn negative within 24 hours.
-Organizations involved in point of entries(designated airports), need to establish a screening system for travelers and gather health status information which is to be shared with Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme/National Centre for Disease Control immediately.
-Organizations providing healthcare facilities must abide by control guidelines stated by Infection Prevention and Control(IPC) for treating 2019-nCoV cases.
-Specific measures to be taken for organizations collecting samples for research.
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