EBM Client Service Update – Coronavirus: 18/03/2020
We would like to update you on the actions we are taking at EBM to ensure we are responding to the needs of our clients, the communities we are in and of course, our people, as the situation around COVID-19 evolves.
EBM has plans in place to ensure we can continue to service clients in the event we are unable to operate from our physical offices.
What this means for our clients
- EBM has the capability to provide our clients with ‘business as usual’ service. We are prepared for our employees to work remotely as required. If you have any queries, please contact us on 1300 755 112 or your EBM Account Manager directly;
- We are limiting face-to-face meetings – if you have been on an international trip or have been in direct contact with a confirmed case, then we will either hold the meeting over the phone or delay the meeting for a minimum of 14 days;
- Our office hours remain the same. If this changes, we will advise you via email and will post updates on our website and via our social media accounts (LinkedIn and Facebook).
What this means for our EBM team
The wellbeing of our employees is of utmost importance to us. We are implementing several initiatives to support the health of our team, including:
- When it becomes necessary, our team will have the ability to work from home. This will help to reduce the spread of coronavirus. We have now commenced a rotational work from home policy;
- Face to face meetings are discouraged but we will do all we can to meet with clients as required;
- All internal events and client functions have been cancelled or postponed as appropriate;
- All business air travel has been cancelled;
- EBM employees have been advised to stay home should they feel sick or develop flu-like symptoms;
- Our team is committed to practicing good hygiene and our daily office cleaning regime has been enhanced.
Business Risk Considerations
Many businesses have either commenced or are working through business continuity plans or taking immediate steps to address unforeseen and/or unrealised business exposures. To ensure you can continue to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible, even in the worst-case scenario, consider the following:
Identifying the business’ main vulnerabilities
Decision-makers should take a holistic view of the business (from supply chain to personnel) and identify potential impacts on the business from an outbreak. Identify critical products and suppliers – understanding the supply chain can help identify risks early on. Fully consider the market for the business’ product or service. Ensure the business’ legal and financial obligations are understood. Identify the specific risks posed by the pandemic to the business, including operational and revenue impacts.
Businesses should have strategies in place to ensure operational continuity, employee protection and market preservation. Review any existing plans to ensure they are up-to-date. Make sure there are effective response and recovery plans in place (not forgetting external and internal communication plans).
Implementing/activating business continuity and crisis management plans
Contingency plans should be flexible in order to protect revenue by switching to alternative product lines, sourcing alternative suppliers and focusing on regions exempt from quarantine measures. Look at alternative markets and evaluate supply chains to ensure access to raw materials, components and finished goods will not be affected. Budgets should also be revised to consider the impact of an outbreak, while Human Resource departments should plan for employee interruption including exploring alternative work arrangements (such as flexible hours, working from home etc.). Travel policies should be updated.
As Coronavirus spreads, so do the concerns of individuals and business owners. For many businesses, the virus threatens to disrupt production, supply chains, sales and revenue. Many are looking to business interruption insurance to cushion the impact, however it’s important that consumers understand general policy limitations. While many policies have business interruption cover, standard exclusions generally apply in respect to notifiable diseases, offering no insurance protection for disruptions to business from Coronavirus.
Physical losses, or insured perils are the ‘trigger’ your business would need to make a claim under a typical business interruption cover. The broader considerations and implications for many businesses to consider are the adequacy of current limits of cover, including loss of trading revenue, gross profit, policy indemnity periods and the additional increased cost of working to re-establish your business in the event of an insured loss (e.g. fire, explosion, storm). In the current pandemic climate, lead times for replacement of plant, machinery and stock, for instance, may be delayed. This may be due to cross border or international restrictions which could be detrimental in re-establishing your business or returning your business to a similar operating or trading level which you had prior to the insured loss.
We recommend you contact your EBM Account manager to discuss or review your options to ensure you are adequately protected.
Working from home protocols
Businesses looking to introduce a work from home program should create specific guidelines to ensure all employees understand what is required from them when they work remotely, including the following key elements:
Having the proper technology
Computer, email, phone conferencing, access to internal networks are all tools that employees need, whether they work from home or a public location.
Using a secure connection
Remote workers should have a secured Wi-Fi network and work with a trusted virtual private network (VPN). The VPN serves as a buffer between the Wi-Fi connection and your mobile device or laptop. Any transmitted data is then encrypted to protect it from tampering and interception.
Working from home can pose a cybersecurity risk. If an employee is not using a secured Wi-Fi or VPN, their computer could be open to a cyber-attack. Employees should also be aware of the physical security of their electronic devices. They should keep their laptops to themselves and securely store them when they are not in use.
Implementing communications programs
Stay in touch with employees who work from home via Teams, Skype, Facetime and other messaging services. At times, remote workers can feel isolated from the rest of the team, so it is important to keep in contact with them via phone, email, messaging, or video conference.
Setting clear expectations in your work from home policy
Create a work from home policy with your specific expectations of the program. The policy would include instructions for an employee’s daily work schedule, your company’s overtime policy, description of a dedicated workspace (including ergonomics), instructions for reporting personal injury and damage to company equipment, and protection of proprietary company information.
Businesses must keep up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 information and advice to ensure that any action taken is measured and appropriate. This includes closely monitoring the Australian Government Department of Health, the Smartraveller website and any advice from state or territory government agencies.
Employees also have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and to not adversely affect the health and safety of others. Employees should be reminded to always practice good hygiene and other measures to protect themselves and others against infection.
Here to help
As the situation is evolving quickly, we will do our best to keep you informed. If you have any questions, please contact your EBM Account Manager on 1300 755 112 for further information.