With increasing new COVID-19 cases being reported in Singapore, businesses are stepping up their Business Continuity Plans and IT Managers and their IT Management Teams in SMEs have a big role to play to effect new measures and changes at work.
Cloudvela IT has a suite of solutions and business continuity plans for stakeholders and we have summarized a list below as a source of reference for all fellow IT professional and practitioners in Singapore on how we can enhance protection for employees, businesses and for the community at large.
1. Keep yourself updated
First and foremost, it is important to keep updated with the latest development on the COVID-19 virus from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Visit the MOH website to get timely updates on the latest number of confirmed cases, the affected areas, as well as the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) risk level. The DORSCON is a color-coded risk assessment framework from MOH that can help you determine the severity and risk of spread of the disease so as to make timely business decisions on stepping up necessary measures. For SMEs in Singapore, you can structure your business continuity plans and responses in phases according to the DORSCON code.
DORSCON infographic by MOH
Visit the Ministry of Manpower website to get the latest updates on measures, including travel advisories for employees, recommended workplace practices and policies for quarantine and leave of absence (LOA).
While it is likely to keep to business as usual (BAU) at DORSCON Orange, companies are strongly encouraged to take these precautions:
a) Travel Declaration
The Ministry of Manpower of Singapore (MOM Singapore) has announced travel advisories for visitors to mainland China. For employees who are on leave and planning to travel, have them fill up a travel advisory form to declare their travel plans. You can download a template from MOM here. You can also use online tools like Google Form, Zoho Survey Mon or Survey Monkey to create online travel declaration forms.
(Reminder: Do ensure that all necessary precautions are taken when handling personal information and data and exercise due diligence as per the regulations of Personal Data Protection Act )
b) Temperature screening
It is encouraged that employees take their temperature twice daily, to monitor their health and watch for fever symptoms. Anyone who is unwell should see a doctor promptly. It is vital for employees who are on LOA (leave of absence) to do this. You can download a temperature tracking form from MOM here.
c) Visitors Registration
For many businesses, you may have an inflow of visitors to your office even during this period. It is a good practice to perform visitor registration so that if needed, you can identify each person who has visited your office and can trace them as you have collected their contact details. It is also good practice to enforce travel declaration forms are signed and temperature screenings are done for these visitors.
d) Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)
For employee protection, it is important to keep a supply of PPE like masks, gloves, anti-bacterial wipes or hand sanitizers available in the office. If employees exhibit flu-like symptoms at work, they should be issued a mask and advised to see a doctor promptly.
e) Relaxed leave policies
HR should encourage employees who exhibit even mild flu symptoms to stay at home. If they do not need to see the doctor, businesses can consider waiving the MC requirement and allow them to apply for hospitalization leave. Businesses should also try to provide flexible work arrangements like Remote Working from Home Solutions (.i.e. Remote VPN and Secure Workspace Solutions).
f) Clear communications
All employees should be fully aware of policies set in place by the organization. The IT and HR departments should share circulars that clearly stipulate action plans for business continuity and help educate employees on proper personal hygiene practices to minimize the risk at the workplace.
3. Importance of a Business Continuity (BCP) Plan
Every business should have a business continuity plan and be aware of the activation time required for such plans. When DORSCON RED is announced, the government is likely to employ certain control measures. At this stage, SMEs should activate their business continuity plans and ideally remote working from home enablement should start.
As an example, if the situation deteriorates to DORSCON Red, Cloudvela IT will activate the corresponding BCP and move all employees onto a remote working model. With the prime advantage that all our software, technology and tools are cloud-based, we are fully operational and functional with minimal disruption out of the office. We are already able to frequently practice flexible work arrangements like working from home as we have prepared spare laptops for employees who are currently desktop users in the office. In the event of an activation, these existing plans mean that we will take less than 4 hours of activation time for the whole team to move into our remote working model.
As a Cloud managed services IT company, we are naturally well-equipped for remote working. This readiness depends much on the industry in which a business operates and it may be hard to minimize business disruptions or implement flexible working arrangements. For more complex business operations, the business continuity plans will obviously require a longer activation time. Thus, it is important to start planning immediately, to prepare ahead as the current situation evolves and potentially worsens.
The right Cloud and IT Technology infrastructure is vital to effectively implement flexible working arrangements. The good news is, subscribing to the right cloud technologies and IT applications, infrastructure and services that can be quickly deployed and is affordable.
A good place to start is to invest in good virtual meeting tools. Internally, Cloudvela IT uses Zoho Meeting, which is already included in our Zoho Subscription. Or you can use one of our free virtual conference platform brought to you by Cloudvela.
If you require advice or more information on what are the most suitable solutions and technologies to deploy during this period, Cloudvela IT is ready to help you and your organization on the best-fit technology that suits your business needs. Simply fill up the form below or hit the online chat button and we will get back to you.