COVID-19: How to ensure employee safety and business continuity

The COVID-19 outbreak has presented a test on companies' work-from-home programs and how they ensure employee safety and business continuity.
By: | March 19, 2020

By Steve Bennetts, Employee Experience Solutions & Strategy Lead, Qualtrics APJ

Businesses across the globe are facing an unprecedented state of change and uncertainty as they work to address the challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Employee health and safety is one of the most critical priorities during this time. For business leaders this objective is joined by maintaining business continuity and productivity with a large number of teams working remotely and disrupted supply chains from the containment measures implemented.

The COVID-19 outbreak represents the first time business continuity and flexible working programs have been tested at such scale, with new challenges and outcomes appearing daily. During times of change, research shows that employees want to provide feedback.

It means it’s important for leaders to ensure they are able to seamlessly conduct two-way communications with employees. Being able to effectively listen to the voice of employees in this moment allows businesses to understand and continue running as smoothly as possible, and to provide a safe, secure, and productive environment.

Providing platforms for employees to feedback is important because it supports organizational performance by helping businesses understand how their continuity plans are operating in real-time, and how their networks and services are performing with increased remote demand. Leaders can be equipped with meaningful insights to rapidly take action on.

For example, if teams have been instructed to work from home leaders need to quickly know of any issues employees may have in terms of accessing services to ensure they are provided with a secure and productive environment.  On a similar note, leaders need to prioritize employee well being by using engagement channels to deliver support from the organization during this time. Maintaining team interaction and collaboration is also paramount to maintaining morale, culture and productivity when employees are working across locations, meaning it’s essential the platforms implemented to enable online communications are performing as required.

Analysing all data captured – including structured and unstructured feedback – also helps ensure business continuity and employee safety. It allows trends to be quickly identified so the appropriate guidance can be delivered. For example, if there is a known issue accessing the company VPN, a step-by-step guide can be created and shared across the company.

During the current state of change and uncertainty, businesses need to make data-backed decisions they can trust. Facilitating fast and simple conversations equips leaders with meaningful insights to rapidly take action on. IT is a key partner for HR executives and other leaders, providing the tools and platforms allowing businesses to effectively manage their workforce and improve experiences so that employees are safe, happy, and empowered to perform at their best wherever they are.