March 23, 2020 – COVID-19

FROM OUR FRIENDS AT OKLAHOMA BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE:

As leaders in Oklahoma’s business community and organizations, we have a shared responsibility to implement actions that mitigate risks to our state and its citizens in light of the current pandemic. Panic and fear are adversaries to constructive problem-solving, whereas caution and logic can generate constructive action plans. While there is helpful information available through government organizations such as the CDC, it is difficult to assess the seriousness of the threat to Oklahoma, and to identify strategies to weather through the current storm.

 

We believe we must all take the pandemic very seriously, have preparations in place for a worst-case scenario, and take actions quickly. Assume that you will have cases of COVID-19 develop within your organization. Chad Richison, one of our members has summed up the structure for moving forward into three areas:

 

  • Prepare – prepare your workforce for some difficult days ahead. We will see an increase in cases, and many will be affected. Help them understand the potential seriousness of the pandemic. Mitigate fear with truthful communication.
  • Defend – What are the ways your workforce can best be protected from exposure to the virus? What jobs can be performed through telecommuting? Have as many people working from home as possible. Create Safe Spaces in your facility for employees who must be on-site. Implement a No-touch protective policy and provide safety wear such as gloves. Establish social space parameters and prohibit or minimize the use of common spaces as much as possible. The best safe space is a place where only one employee works and where no other person enters for 60 days. The employee will be responsible to clean and disinfect the space.
  • Innovate – Consider new ways to accomplish work objectives through technology, layout of work spaces or production areas, establishment of new ways to process work flow and information flow.

 

Successful operations understand the importance of the entity’s culture. The best way to protect and maintain your culture and the trust of your workforce is to communicate honestly with them and be proactive in protecting them. The current situation will pass and preserving the integrity of your organization’s culture will be important in reinvigorating your workforce when the risks abate.

 

Even if you are minimally impacted by the pandemic, your employees will be thankful that you are prepared to do all you can to keep them safe. Other emergencies will undoubtedly arise and having a temporary business model ready to activate will add confidence and stability in your workforce.