Strategies and advice for businesses to stay in control through COVID-19 and get ahead of the pack

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COVID-19 Business Continuity – 2nd April

Hi, it’s Ashley Thomson with the COVID-19 Business Continuity update for Thursday, 2nd April.

The national cabinet meets again tomorrow afternoon to discuss rent so we’re not expecting any significant updates for small-medium business until then.

In this briefing I’m talking about what to do if there’s a case of coronavirus in your business

We’re hearing more cases of community transmissions. The reality is that while the odds are low, it’s still possible that someone in your workforce could contract coronavirus.

Symptoms, testing and self-quarantining
If one of your employees is feeling sick or showing symptoms of coronavirus, they must call their GP for advice or the coronavirus hotline: 1800 675 398 (24 hours, 7 days a week). The GP or the hotline will advise your team member if they need to get tested.

If a test is conducted, they must stay in self-quarantine until they receive the results of their COVID19 test.

If your employee is diagnosed with coronavirus, the Public Health Unit (PHU) is notified and they begin to trace their movements back to try to find the original source of the virus.

Tracing close contacts

The next step is the PHU will get in touch with people – including your other team members – who may have been in close contact with and infected by the diagnosed person.
Close contacts are those who have had face-to-face contact with a confirmed case for a period more than 15 minutes, or those who have shared an enclosed space with a confirmed case for more than two hours.

Anyone who has been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus needs to self-quarantine for 14 days from the last contact with them.

Team members in close contact
If one of your team is diagnosed with COVID19, everyone else in your team who they have been in close contact with will be directed by the Public Health Unit to immediately self-quarantine for 14 days. The key word is immediately. That means your team members will have to go straight home – they won’t be able to return to work to drop anything off or pick anything up.

If that happens, here are things you’ll need to plan for:

  • Reclaim any work vehicles: You may need to take an Uber or taxi to collect the vehicle from the employee’s place. You’ll need to disinfect every single surface of the vehicle that could be touched before driving it – door handles (inside and outside), steering wheel, rear view mirror, gear stick, handbrake, indicator and wipers, aircon and radio buttons, petrol tank, etc. Wear disposable gloves while driving then take them off and then wash your hands. Note: gloves can still transmit diseases, sometimes they’re worse than bare hands so make sure you use and remove gloves correctly (how to remove gloves correctly)
  • Reclaim any company work tools: Wear disposable gloves, sanitise all tools and bags before handling them. Make sure to remove the disposable gloves correctly and wash hands with soap for 20 seconds afterwards.
  • Reclaim any laptop or company owned devices (tables, phones) and sanitise them carefully. The coronavirus can survive on glass for 72 hours, so be careful.

Leave entitlements
I’m going to hold off from explaining leave entitlements for the moment – let me explain why:

  • This is a complex area because the Fair Work Commission is looking to introduce special provisions for pandemic leave but they haven’t been made official yet (at the time of writing).
  • Currently on the Fair Work Australia website there are different entitlements for different situations (such as whether they have been diagnosed, are waiting for diagnosis, or are in quarantine because of the close contact rule). Let’s explore leave entitlements if/when it comes to that. Speak to your business coach if you have any questions

Avoiding COVID19 in your business

  • Regularly reinforce the government’s advice on how to minimise the risk of transmission.
  • Encourage your team members to hold each other accountable
  • Split your teams into the smallest practicable sizes.
  • In the smaller crews, keep the same people together – don’t allow team members to change the people they’re working with.
  • Maintain social distancing.
  • No in-person team meetings, no team socialising
  • See more detail in my email of 20th March

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Let’s keep encouraging our teams to be responsible and sensible.
Ash and the Tenfold Business Coaching team

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