There is a plethora of information in the news about the Cornavirus (COVID-19). You cannot turn on the news or open a website without hearing about it, and rightly so. The COVID-19 outbreak is a serious situation with serious repercussions. The virus has taken the lives of over 2,000 people around the globe. So where is this blessing in disguise? How does pandemic planning play a role?
1) Pandemic plan reviews
Outbreaks place a spotlight on pandemic situations and the necessary planning around pandemic threats. An outbreak like COVID-19 helps for all types of contagious diseases including the spread of the annual influenza. It gets businesses thinking about their most important resource, the employees, and how to keep them safe while also keeping their businesses running.
2) Promotes better hygiene practices and cleanliness
Sometimes simple reminders of common best practices is all that is needed to significantly increase your level of protection during a virus outbreak. Create a highly visible “wellness” campaign that demonstrates the proper way to cough/sneeze, wash hands, and recognize symptoms. Simple posters located in bathrooms, entry and exit path, and break rooms are a great starting point. Locate hand sanitizers all over the place – teller stations, next to doors (for door handle wiping), conference rooms and at each employee workstation!
Cross-training to fill essential vacancies that might occur. Be aware that someone on your essential team getting sick is probable. You want to avoid having a knowledge gap is a team member is sick and out of the office. Cross-training is essential for preventing this.
4) Vendor contract reviews
It’s a great time to review critical vendors and the service that they provide your credit union. Does their contract state they can and will help stand-in with processing? Consider your vendors an extension of your staffing resources.
5) Policy reviews
It goes without saying, but I am going to say it anyways. If you’re sick, you should stay home. However, due to fears associated with lost pay and/or losing a job, many individuals will choose to come to work when they are sick. As a management team. Review your “sick leave” practices and culture. What are you communicating to your staff? Better yet, are YOU coming in sick and creating pressure for others to show up regardless of their health? Establish and clearly communicate policies on sick leave, family leave and employee compensation. Advise employees who are ill during a pandemic to stay at home.
6) Disaster Recovery testing
Staffing shortages can quickly disrupt operations as children fall sick and parents stay at home to care for loved ones. Now is a great time to “exercise” your “work at home” (WAH) strategy! Implementing your WAH strategy (most likely developed during your Pandemic Planning process) will immediately provide some protection from the transmission of viruses in/out of your Credit Union. Don’t have remote access? Talk to an industry expert about cloud services/virtual desktops that enable you and your staff to safely and securely duplicate their work environment from alternate locations.
These are only a few of the ideas that will help a credit union with pandemic planning. It’s not a matter of if a disaster will occur, but when. It is our responsibility to our employees and our members to be prepared. Credit union pandemic planning should be considered a blessing in disguise not another dreaded chore.