Tips for Setting Up a Covid Safety Toolkit for your Business

Created: Thursday, December 10, 2020, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 10:00 am



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By Marta Kalas, Thomson Screening

As Covid-19 continues what does your business need for the next phase? What is required are processes and systems to support the safe running of the business, without dominating your every minute.

One way to do that is to create a Covid Safety Toolkit. This is a package of tools that will help you keep track of the changes and the ever-increasing regulation and actions you need to stay on top of. For example, Thomson Screening has developed a toolkit to help SMEs work through what’s needed and how to action it. It provides a checklist, training, and sample documentation. Although creating a toolkit may sound overwhelming, the good news is; none of these activities is new. Businesses do them all the time. It is the fact that you need a Covid flavored versions that make them different today.

Covid Safety Toolkit
Image: Pexels

A Toolkit

It is as simple as LEGO: rather than creating individual processes and lots of standalone documents, you bring together, all in one place, every item you will need to respond to Covid. For example, the text you use on your customer displays can also be used on your website, in work manuals or compliance documents. Covid affects all parts of a business and requirements change rapidly. Imagine if you had to check and update them all, one at a time. The chances of missing one or keeping out of date information is quite high and the task is daunting. That’s where a toolkit can help, and why it’s important to have one (whether you create it yourself, or buy it in, for your business and ensure everything you need is in one place.

A Toolkit should contain…

  1. Governance framework
  2. Risk management including individual and group risk assessments
  3. Action plans
  4. Communications plans
  5. Review and update plan

It sounds extremely dry so let’s make it more user friendly:

Governance

You need to decide who is in charge: Who has oversight of all your Covid related activities; where does the buck stop? Several months into Covid, this has probably been done ages ago, so you might as well put it into your Covid Policy and make sure everyone knows it.

Risk management

These are all the changes, adaptations, and new ways of working you put in place in response to Covid, and hopefully, you shouldn’t need to do them over again. If these are risk assessment based and clearly documented (a simple Excel sheet will do, the key is clarity, not length), you can quickly check what needs updating if there is a local or national change in guidelines. Most of your arrangements can probably stay as they are, but do you know which ones need to change and how? If your original assessment is at hand, in an easy-to-access document, you can revise it very quickly.

You may need to assess an individual person’s risks as well. For example, somebody who has recently had Covid will need different kinds of support than someone who has never had it, or someone who lives with an elderly relative. Our general understanding of risks relating to specific groups: young people, healthcare workers, etc. is much better than earlier in the year and is constantly improving. You might want to fine-tune your risk groups at regular intervals. Again, this is where having a central document will save you time.

Action plans

This needs little explanation; it goes hand in hand with your risk assessment changes. If there’s been no change then no action is needed. If there has been a specific change in risk, then you’ll need to change the mitigation that helps reduce that risk.

If you do this by modules or sections for each area of your business, each building, or physical space, you will be able to make the changes much faster and you can also check that you haven’t missed anything.

Communications plan

This is where Covid specific planning pays a lot of dividends. It is worth dedicating some time to this as it’s the area that is likely to change most often. Here are the key points to consider:

  1. Understand your audience
  2. Listen to them actively
  3. Be clear about what you want to say (and say it simply)
  4. Use the appropriate channel(s)
  5. Make sure your communication is timely

You also need to use trusted sources of information. There is so much conflicting, confusing, or out of date information circulating, it’s always best to go straight to the horse’s mouth and check the government websites first.

Use templates as much as possible as this will save time and keep the communications consistent. Ensure anyone involved in any form of comms (from PR to social media, from web editor, to marketing flyers, from poster designs to advertising) knows what your Covid-19 messaging is and when and how to include it.

Review and update

There is no magic here, you simply need to check, and check again, at regular intervals what the current regulations are, and what you and your workforce are required to do. You’ll also need to have evidence that you are carrying out your duties as an employer.

Tools to help you

Fortunately, there are a couple of tricks and tips you can use. These are not new, they are probably already familiar to you, and in Covid-19 related activities they are essential:

  • In electronic communications (websites, newsletters, chats, etc.) use links directly to the relevant government websites. (see list above)
  • Used shared file systems (e.g. Google Drive, One Drive, or Dropbox) for templates and drafts
  • Have a log of where these templates are kept and where they are used, to make sure you don’t miss one of them
  • It takes an extra few minutes to get everything in one place when you start, but it will pay dividends many times over when you suddenly need to change something.

Given the ongoing nature of Covid and the fact that we sometimes feel a certain Covid-weariness, a Toolkit is essential. You will already have a lot to contend as you keep your team and your customers safe, and run your business. Having a toolkit that means you don’t have to repeat work. You don’t have to ‘reinvent the wheel’.  And you don’t have to worry that everything is up to date. It will lift a burden from your shoulders.


Marta Kalas
    
Marta Kalas is co-founder of Thomson Screening, developers of the Thomson Covid-19 Test Manager software platform that enables testing providers to scale irrespective of where, how and what test is carried out. Functions include automated reporting at the local and national levels for bodies including Public Health, Community Health, and Employers with data reporting into other systems, as required.

A separate module using questionnaire and risk assessment methodology enables local residents to self-report Covid-19 symptoms with automated reporting to local (or national) Public Health and the ability to automatically push out messaging specific to the individual with symptoms.

Thomson Covid-19 Test Manager is designed to adapt rapidly to fast-changing requirements and is fully scalable. The Innovate UK grant enables Thomson Screening to utilize investments made in the core functionality of the company’s products used in the NHS, especially its SchoolScreener Imms product, to rapidly repurpose and deploy the software.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog post or content are those of the authors or the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company.


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