Working with some of Australia's largest organisations in their response to COVID-19, I have had the unique opportunity to speak to and be guided by a number of eminent Infectious Disease experts. I have been so fortunate to be able to hear their perspectives regarding the ongoing virus research, listen to how they are learning more about the virus almost daily, and hear what we can do to protect ourselves and others.
Our biggest threat in Australia is uncontrolled community transmission. We have seen this in Victoria, resulting in the recent lockdown, and is what others states are working so hard to avoid. From a mitigation perspective Social Distancing and Hygiene remain our best weapons.
In terms of response strategies available to businesses - we must appreciate that we as individual organisations do not own the COVID-19 problem - it is a national and global pandemic. As a result we must adhere to the directions of State and Federal Governments and adapt our response strategies to their policies. This does not mean we are without options, but our freedom of action is limited. I offer the following business response strategies for discussion:
- No change. Businesses remain at Watch and Act and progress with all return to BAU activities. Continue to monitor the developing situation. (An option when there are very few cases and no direct impact on an organisation's people or business function)
- Pause. Businesses pause “at Stage”, reviewing high risk activities with a view to potentially “rolling back”. (An option when there are increasing cases with the potential to impact on an organisation's people or business function)
- Cluster Management. Businesses respond to a potential cluster by restricting access to specific site and/or activities. (An option when there are increasing cases linked to a government identified region with confirmed impact on an organisation's people or business function.)
- Stage Regression. Businesses respond to key indicators and move back through their stages of response or to an initial response position. (An option when there are increasing cases and confirmed government reports of community transmission with confirmed impact on an organisation's people or business function. Likely to be aligned with increasing State Government restrictions)
As stated I offer these strategies for discussion as they would require tailoring to specific businesses. Further I would encourage all organisations to conduct their own independent assessments and engage subject matter experts to support when required.