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How To Assess Your Business’s Readiness To Reopen Amidst COVID-19

The spread of COVID-19 represents a perfect storm for business disruption, combining a rapidly evolving global threat, an uneven recovery, disparate government regulations and shaken supply chains. The complexity of operating a company during this tumultuous time is unprecedented and the stakes are astronomically high.

Following the initial lockdowns and travel restrictions, a few countries like Germany, Denmark and the Czech Republic have begun to reopen certain types businesses. Stateside, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued interim guidance for critical infrastructure workers, and some governors including California Gov. Gavin Newsom have issued a guide for lifting COVID-19 restrictions. 

While a full recovery remains out of reach for the foreseeable future, it is imperative for executives to develop their reopening strategy now, implement solutions to support employees’ eventual return to work and prepare to recover their operations, so they are ready when the time comes.

No matter how this next phase of the pandemic plays out, until the world has access to a vaccine, companies must navigate constantly shifting threats and continuously communicate with the right employees at the right time to keep them safe.

 

Here is a checklist of the 5 most important things businesses must be able to do in order to return to work:

1. Track and comply with evolving government and healthcare protocols – Protocols vary dramatically from one region or country to the next, as COVID-19 cases ebb and flow over time. For example, some Asian countries that successfully flattened the disease curve are now bracing for a second spike in COVID-19 cases that may require a new round of lockdowns. Keeping track of these constant shifts in regulations and complying with them is crucial for any return-to-work plan.

2. Help keep employees safe – As we move into the next phase of the pandemic, companies will need to help keep employees safe by monitoring their level of risk by location, including their proximity to COVID-19 outbreaks and whether or not they had previously traveled to any such “hot zones.” Companies also need to be able to poll these employees to check their status, such as if they have met relevant government criteria to reopen for business.

3. Analyze the threat of new outbreaks – Businesses must be able to dynamically analyze threat levels around the world and monitor for any new outbreaks that could pose a threat to employees, customers or supply chains. To be effective, they will need to know in real time if an outbreak could impact the people and infrastructure they care about and react quickly.

4. Maintain the integrity of their supply chain – To date, COVID-19 has caused numerous disruptions to supply chains that businesses and consumers depend on. One of the most troubling is the recent shock to the U.S. food supply chain, but many more are in jeopardy too. A business cannot operate successfully without knowing when supply chains are at risk, make alternative plans as needed and keep supplies moving on time.  

5. Audit their processes to maintain compliance – Even if companies do all these things well, there is another major challenge our “new normal” presents: the need for comprehensive auditing to ensure compliance with government protocols. Auditing is critical, and yet without an automated way to do it, the task can be tremendously time consuming and especially difficult when considering the complexity of the rapidly evolving pandemic.

Fortunately, businesses are not alone. Critical Event Management (CEM) technology exists today that can help companies automate and manage each of these efforts, including tracking threats, responding to them, communicating with employees and analyzing the actions they have taken to continually improve.

To learn more about how my team at Everbridge helps companies solve for these challenges, please visit our Coronavirus Preparedness Digital Hub with an interactive map showing the most recent alerts around the world, running frequent webinars with experts on managing pandemics, providing a Coronavirus Preparedness Kit with best practices, and publishing a blog series on new developments with the virus.  

Source: Forbes

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