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Positivity is Contagious

Let me share a characteristic about myself. I’m a person that always strives to be positive and find a silver lining in everything. My hope with this blog is to share some positive thoughts and news surrounding COVID-19. Or if you haven’t heard it’s scientific name Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). As of April 13, 2020 there are over 1,860,000 + confirmed cases, and 114,000 + deaths worldwide. The seriousness of this Global Pandemic cannot be understated.

Allow me to share my thoughts on some positive things I have seen.

  1.  We know how to slow the spread of the virus and that’s by social distancing. Some of my colleagues and clients have heard me say that a more accurate description is physical distancing. Socially we’re still getting together thanks to the internet. Whether it’s FaceTime, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Zoom, or whatever your preference. We are doing social get-together’s online more frequently. For business meetings, and occasional virtual happy hours, etc. there are more and more of us turning on our video to show our faces. That’s a good thing (maybe not with my face), but for most, that is a good thing. By continuing our physical distancing, current reports are showing that we are beginning to see a flattening of the curve. On a personal note, I have lost 7 pounds since being locked down. It might be stress, but I am doing my part to flatten more than one curve.
  2. There are more and more countries participating in physical distancing and the results are reassuring.
  3. Scientists around the world are working on a cure. It will take months or possibly years to develop a vaccine, but the work so far has shown promising avenues that have been identified.
  4. Most people recover from the virus. Around the world many are recovering from the infection, thanks to the hard work of medical staff and the people who support them.
  5. Testing for the virus is increasing and improving.
  6. People are coming together and helping each other like never before. Many of us are finding ways to bring out the best in ourselves and our communities, resisting misinformation and divisiveness. Kind gestures are now increasing everywhere.
  7. After five years of fighting a civil war in Yemen, a cease fire broke out because of COVID-19. Imagine the two sides just starting a dialogue for peace and listening to each other in this and all other conflicts around the world.
  8. A major modeling report recently has now lowered its prediction for the death toll in the United States.
  9. We have relearned or now know new acronyms like PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), WHO (World Health Organization), PUI (Patient Under Investigation) and the SGN (Some Good News) network, thanks to John Krasinski.
  10. I get such positive feelings from children writing and drawing with chalk on sidewalks and driveways with such uplifting words.
  11. We’ll have lessons learned from this, and we will be more prepared than ever in business and Government. It’s great to see local Municipalities, Counties, State, Federal, and Health Systems all working and communicating together.
  12. When I go for my daily walks, I have noticed that people are friendlier, they wave, say hello and are also smiling. Even those wearing a mask. I can see it in their eye’s that they are smiling.

I could go on with more positive news, there is a lot of it out there. I know it is hard on all of us to be positive when many people are dying. But we will get through this.

To all the medical professionals, grocery store employees, delivery drivers, pharmacy workers, mail carriers, firefighters, police, nursing home employees, and everyone else working to save lives and keep us all going. Thank you, we are all grateful for your sacrifice.

 

Utilizing Your Pandemic Response/Plan to Include Minimizing Stakeholder Impact

Utilizing Your Pandemic Response/Plan to Include Minimizing Stakeholder Impact

Pandemic planning focuses on ensuring our companies can recover from a protracted incident and the ability to sustain most impacted/critical operations over an extended period (30, 60, 90 days+).  Considering current events, this is especially relevant.  We have been working with our customers to also look into minimizing the impact to their external stakeholders, as I am sure, many of you are.

Through our efforts in providing Pandemic Policies and plans to our customers, we have included sections on Customer Service offerings within the policy. The section below is a blended policy section, taken from both Financial and Retail Pandemic Plans that can easily be adopted and integrated into your own.

We have sections on both Employees and Supply Chain that is not addressed directly here. If you are interested in more information on those sections, I would be happy to share, please reach out to me.

4.1 Customer Service

A top priority for our organization is for our customers to access our products, funds, resources, and services without interruption or degradation in quality.

The following strategic options should be considered during an infectious disease outbreak.

  1. Direct customers to expand use of our online services. This should be accomplished through electronic, web, and handouts. Consider an incentive through added to the communications, to include free shipping, comp’d services, discounts, or waived fees.
  2. Reallocate impacted department staff to address increased online activity. Information Technology will monitor server load and bandwidth to ensure a secure, stable experience due to increased demand.
  3. Require employees directly dealing with in person customer interaction, direct contact with currency, paperwork, product, to use personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks or gloves, as recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and WHO.
  4. Mandate refresher training for all impacted employees in proper use and disposal of PPE. Ensure specific receptacles for PPE.
  5. Create and use campaigns to encourage employers to expand use of direct deposit services.
  6. Execute clause in new hiring process to delay drug-screening until post incident period for surge workers. Include clause in employment agreement to address waiver in crisis.
  7. Provide customer with both an automated, scripted status of company’s redefined efforts, closures, and other directly impacted service via telephone routing (IVR) and website(s).
  8. Provide online live /interactive venue for communications via chat, and other web-based solution.
  9. Establish alternate vendors for Armored Car services to ensure pickup and delivery of cash and receipts.
  10. Increase liquidity projections and arrange back-up liquidity to address projected increases in customer demand for cash (ATM’s) for extended period. Increase Armored Car Services accordingly.
  11. Offer forbearance and/or rewrite terms on business, consumer and residential loans for customers who fall behind on their payments as a direct result of the pandemic. Evaluation criteria for forbearance and/or rewriting of terms is the responsibility of Risk, Credit and Lending, led by Credit.
  12. Provide Pandemic bridge/emergency loans to consumer and business customers on a case-by-case basis.
  13. Highlight or remove low/no stock inventory from online, and or post status at entrance to location. Provide ETA on replenishment if available or suggest alternatives.

The intent here is to provide support to those who are deep into reacting to and assisting their organizations and the community in this national crisis.

Please feel free to use what is relevant here for your own use. Your constructive feedback, comments or questions are more than welcome.

For additional support on this topic, please reach out to Christopher Duffy, Head of Advisory Services at Infinite Blue.

 

PANDEMIC PLANNING: BEING PREPARED FOR COVID-19

PANDEMIC PLANNING: BEING PREPARED FOR COVID-19

With the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19, it’s time to dust off your Pandemic Plan and ensure that you follow protocol to protect your employees and customers.  How your organization responds to and recovers from COVID-19 is everyone’s responsibility.

For your business to weather the storm, ensure your management team is discussing and addressing the following topics:

  1. How are you tracking travel for your employees (business and personal)? What is the cancellation policy for hotels, airlines, conferences?  Are you requiring staff to self-quarantine?
    • Be aware of where events are scheduled and whether a state of emergency has been declared as refunds may be available
  2. What means of communication are you leveraging internally and externally?
  3. Are you having employees reporting their current status to management and tracking accordingly?
  4. At what point will you require social distancing and/or work from home?
  5. Do you allow employees to work from home and do you have enough remote access available (i.e. VPN)?
  6. Will adjustments be required to your HR policies related to sick leave and time off?
  7. What is your HR policy for sick leave if an employee has to self-quarantine?
  8. If they are infected with COVID-19, would you still require them to work from home?
  9. Have you accounted for limited staffing situations due to employees’ childcare providers and/or schools being closed?
  10. Have you defined the minimum number of staff required to perform critical business processes and started cross training where necessary?
  11. What protocols will you follow before staff can return to work?
  12. Are there any legal implications with monitoring the health of employees such as taking temperatures?
  13. What are your escalation procedures to engage local government agencies such as the Public Health Department if an employee tests positive for COVID-19?
  14. Have you identified vendors that can assist with sanitizing your workspace (outside of normal janitorial services)?

It is important in times like these to keep everyone informed. Every day we continue to hear more about the Coronavirus and how it’s impacting our society, company, and families/friends. Knowledge is power, so make sure you continue to stay on top of current information about the virus with trusted resources and data related to Coronavirus. Here are some important media links that may help you during this time:

Infinite Blue is here to help you throughout this situation. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.

Please view our Pandemic Planning and Response page for additional resources and assistance.