Recently, we have asked our members to share with us information on how their companies are tackling the COVID-19 outbreak. Like many others, our members are facing uncertain times ahead of them, with how not only the Australian market is reacting, but also how the world is reacting to the outbreak. By working together with our members, we have been able to collate the information to follow in this article, as a means to assist companies with possible strategies during the current landscape.
Some of our member companies have even introduced a COVID-19 Leadership Group, to assist in monitoring developments and planning for any potential scenarios which can unfold at a moment’s notice, we hope that this article can assist in providing some tools and recommendations to support such an initiative. Overall, it seems many APPMA Member companies are committed to providing constant and up to date communication surrounding the pandemic and what it means for employees from a personal and business sense.
We have found that the majority of companies involved in our callout for information have implemented the below measures in regards to travel:
- The company and all employees should follow the advice of the World Health Organisation and local government advice around travel to countries who have travel cautions or restriction in place. It is important that managers speak with their employees before approving leave to ensure there is a shared understanding of the possible implications of returning from international travel and the self-isolation protocols currently in place.
- DOMESTIC TRAVEL
- Freeze on all non-essential interstate travel
- This was occurring prior to the Federal Government restriction made on Sunday 22 March 2020.
- Freeze on all non-essential interstate travel
- OVERSEAS TRAVEL
- Freeze on all overseas travel (unless absolutely essential)
- Mandatory 14 day self-isolation period for employees who have travelled overseas.
- VISITORS TO THE WORKPLACE
- No visitors on company premises or to client premises
- If visitors are permitted, they must complete a questionnaire before entering the facilities, to determine their risk to company employees
There are a number of strategies which companies have or are planning to implement in regards to the personal working arrangements of their staff, as well as general company policies they believe will assist in flattening the curve of the outbreak.
- Temperature checking (non-intrusive) of staff each morning, upon arrival to the workplace
- Regular communication with the workforce about the unfolding situation
- Rostering of the workforce, in regards to working from the home or office to minimise social contact
- Introducing rules where deliveries are to be left at an external location outside of the office instead of inside
- WORKING FROM HOME
- Where possible staff are to work from home
- Depending on how this situation unfolds, companies are keeping employees regularly informed on how they will respond to any escalation of infection rates or government directives. They will continue to communicate further about plans to work remotely if this becomes necessary.
- MEETINGS, EVENTS & CONFERENCES
- Freeze on attending meetings and events
- Digital technologies are to be utilised instead
- SHARED MEETING ROOMS & LUNCH AREAS
- Maximum of 5 people will use the Conference Rooms
- More than 6 people attending the meeting, use a larger room within the premises
- Maintain one seat apart during the meeting or during lunch
- Social Distancing (1.5m spacing from individuals) should be followed
- Use staggered breaks, so that not all employees are in the same space at once
- Where possible and convenient, take lunch at your desk or outside rather than in a lunchroom. If you do utilise a lunchroom, avoid sitting in groups of 3 or more.
PERSONAL HYGIENE & HEALTH
Whilst companies are introducing their own strategies and policies surrounding COVID-19, they stress the importance of personal hygiene and health, and what employees should be doing inside and outside of the workforce to assist in lowering the chances of contracting COVID-19 and or spreading it onto other individuals.
- To help manage the health of the employee workforce, companies are asking that employees contact their GP, or dedicated Government Health line if they have any questions or concerns about their health.
- As a general rule, if you are unwell, for your own sake and that of your co-workers please stay home, recover and where necessary seek medical advice.
- Follow the Federal and State governments recommendations for quarantine and social distancing
- Increase Vitamin-C intake to build up before the winter months
- Team members who have had contact with, or are living with an individual who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, must undergo a 14-day isolation period from the last contact with the quarantined individual, and submit a medical clearance indicating they are free from COVID-19 prior to returning to work. World Health Organisation defines close contact as one metre between yourself and anyone who is coughing and sneezing.
- Team members who have been in close contact with a person who is currently self-isolating following international travel, must undergo a 14-day self-isolation from the last contact with the person, monitor symptoms and submit a medical clearance indicating they are free from COVID-19 prior to returning to work.
- Stop handshaking as a greeting.
Most, if not all of the companies who responded to the information call out, informed the APPMA that any exceptions to the above guidelines, which have been implemented in their workforce, may only be made by the CEO.
There are a number of resources available for employers, employees and the general population. Many of the below resources are being referred to by companies when implementing changes in the business that directly relate to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is important to ensure the information you are receiving is from official bodies, so as not to cause panic/anxiety, amongst the workforce and general population.
- VIC updates
- NSW updates
- QLD updates
- SA updates
- WA updates
- ACT updates
- NT updates
- TAS updates
- National updates (Department of Health)
- International updates
- World Health Organisation (WHO) resources
- Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Smart Traveller)
- Australian Border Force
- Fair Work Australia
- Safe Work Australia
- Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry:
- Download here
All information was correct at time of publishing.