As the COVID-19 response becomes multi-month, global organisations are moving from the emergency response phase to planning for the longer term. While every organisation’s response will be different, we have seen some similarities in the organisations we work with. These include:
1. Proactive information management & sharing
There is a lot of information, and misinformation, circulating about COVID-19. While the misinformation varies by country it tends to be shaped to play on people’s fear. Even mainstream media reporting can contribute if it is vague or inaccurate can contribute to misinformation. At best, misinformation increases people’s anxiety. At worst, it can result in people in xenophobic or COVID response motivated attacks. Organisations have a role to play in quelling rumours and combatting conspiracies and fake news by communicating verified information proactively and regularly. Helping staff in all countries understand what information can be trusted and what is unconfirmed, or wrong, will be an important role. Read our blog on managing misinformation.
2. Monitor and manage evolving governmental lockdown policies
To date, the initial response in most countries has been similar - severely restrict travel, movements, and gatherings. The next steps taken by governments will likely see these changed – some becoming more restrictive, some less. Global organisations need a flexible, but data-driven, method of decision-making as restrictions in their areas of operation change. IOM has an excellent travel restriction matrix which show country-to country movement which is updated daily.They also have a mobility impact map which details the operational status of individual airports. International SOS has produced a global map of all travel restrictions by country.
3. Physical security of sites and personnel
Most global organisations will have well-developed country security plans with SOPs. These SOPs need to be updated to reflect the changed coronavirus environment. These should account for the country’s requirements and restrictions so that staff can comply with local guidance.
The pandemic could also result in additional security risks such as:
Civil unrest related to restrictions or government requirements
Increased crime due to economic hardships
Looting or robbery
Government security force crackdowns on civil unrest
Xenophobia or targeted mob violence
Opportunistic attacks by militant and terrorist groups
4. Programme Resilience
In the current context, business resilience is heavily reliant on global communications – the internet, computers and mobile phones – are vital assets to enable continued operation. Securing these from theft, damage and shut down are business critical.
Information security is also becoming increasingly critical. Securing organisational data as well as protecting the organisation from cybercrime are fundamental to resilient operations.
5. Remain or withdraw decisions
Organisational duty of care rests on informed consent around the risks staff will face in their work. This will require proactive management as both the organisation and the staff person now continually assess the risks posed in their environment and whether they are comfortable remaining. Unlike the pre-COVID-19 environment, not only does the risk have to be considered but also the person’s route out, destination, possible travel disruptions and quarantines following travel. These decisions will likely need to be made on a case by case basis so having guidance for that decision making is important. Stopping to develop a remote management strategy and employing these tools at a programme level can see overwhelming in the midst of the initial response but it's foundational to managing the evolving environment we will work in for the next few years. If you're developing your remote management strategies and want more support send us an email.