Planning for COVID-19 (coronavirus) as an Enterprise

Lately, it seems difficult to carry on a conversation without mention of the coronavirus. We all know that this pandemic is starting its spread throughout the United States as it has many other countries, and this is likely to continue. Of course, nobody knows exactly how this will play out, so we are all hearing a wide range of outcomes from the very mild to the terribly ominous. But even in the most optimistic scenario, this virus is clearly going to affect the mindset of every employee, customer, or community member of your organization. Today, we’d like to share some of our thoughts at PunchAlert on what you can do as an organization.

Our recommendation is to be extremely proactive in your outreach and communications. Over the last week, we have seen a significant increase in both the usage of our product and the focus on expanded rollouts across the globe. Below are some ideas on how you can use a product like ours to engage your employee or customer community while Covid-19 lingers as a concern:

ANNOUNCEMENTS – Send periodic or daily announcements on a number of topics and leverage the interactive features (comments, yes/no surveys, location requests) to create an informed two-way conversation:

  1. Travel Policy – Inform employees of the current travel policy including whether overseas or national travel is permitted or on hold. If relevant, list all approved travel locations or off-limit sites.
  2. Conferences – Inform employees of your policy on upcoming conferences and whether any should be specifically avoided.
  3. Working from home – Remind employees if this is allowed, encouraged, or required on an office-by-office basis.
  4. Status Checks – Send announcements with Yes/No questions or Location requests to get a sense of where your folks are at a given time in relation to the current threats of the virus. This could inform your next decisions regarding forcing certain employees to self-quarantine or otherwise.
  5. Reporting Policy – Inform employees, customers, or community members how they should report a potential illness (their own or someone else) that may be a risk to others in the organization. Our recommendation is to create Tip Categories for this very sort of thing. Remind everyone that they can also use the Red Emergency Button if they feel there is a more urgent need to either get someone isolated or get them immediate medical attention.

EMERGENCY PLANS – Create a variety of emergency plans related to the virus and upload them to PunchAlert. Then send out announcements informing people where they can find these plans (in the Explore tab by pressing the Organization name). In the event of an outbreak at an office, an emergency can be reported and the appropriate plan for that office will be distributed. This could help with safe evacuation procedures, for example.

TIPS – As mentioned, we recommend creating tip categories for people to feel comfortable reporting a potential illness to the organization. This does not have to be limited to coronavirus. Anonymous reporting can be enabled, and the tip category can be kept private with only a limited number of tip responders being notified (to limit unnecessary panic). Everyone should feel safe reporting their own potential illness or someone else in proximity that may be a carrier of the virus. Crowdsourcing intelligence is absolutely critical!

EMERGENCIES – Of course, this is at the discretion of the individual and your own policy as an organization. We recommend that you do not set too high a bar for reporting an emergency. Remind people that reporting an emergency only notifies the responder team, not the entire organization or even 911 unless 911+ is used. Once the internal responder team is aware of the incident, they can decide about making mass notifications. Please use this as a valuable tool should you need to empower your leadership to make fast, informed decisions. This will also open a 2-way chat amongst your responder team which includes 911 calling awareness (with 911+). All of this can be critical to a fast response.

We’d love to get your thoughts as well. Please share how you might use PunchAlert as well as other technologies at your disposal to prepare for the spread of this virus. It is our privilege to work with such a wonderful community of people that deeply care about the safety of your constituents. Thank you for your support, and please, please… stay safe and healthy!

Best regards,
Greg Artzt

Co-founder, CEO, Punch Technologies, Inc.

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