Coronavirus is sadly still in the news this week, with a big leap in infections to 25,000 (globally) and a spread to two additional cities in the region. The world and certainly the media seem to be on alert.
Mercifully, the mortality rate appears to be lower than MERS or SARS, and there are even some initial reports of some optimism that this may not be as bad as first feared. This is of course little comfort to those already impacted.
I personally remember the SARS outbreak whilst in Canada, and the fears over Ebola in West Africa more recently, whilst in the UK. I was in a call centre environment for both and a few immediate thoughts leap mind.
- Our first thought has to be the well being for other employees, ensuring the team is healthy and protected where-ever possible….. are all appropriate steps being taken?… am I aware of next steps?
- The second thought is ensuring continuity of service for customers, ensuring they have access to services and tools for themselves. This even includes continuity should the call centre (and outsourced vendors) have to temporarily suspend operations…. what is the Business Continuity Plan?… where is it?… am I comfortable and do I have an understanding of next steps?
- Lastly, on assessing risk.…do I know the latest facts and news?… does my company have expert advice?… what is the protocol?
Fortunately, the progress in digitalization and options for remote working the last few years, should all help with our readiness and plan, especially should the situation worsen here.
We all hope this is nothing, I certainly do, and yes this feels all a bit doom and gloom for a Wednesday night. (I did have quite a bit of eye-rolling today when discussing this earlier in the day!). However, this does not and should not prevent us from being prepared and reviewing plans tomorrow.
Being even a little more prepared is a strategy that can make a huge difference in generating better outcomes… for employees, customers and company
So…. it may be worth dusting off the plans or at least asking the ‘what if‘ question tomorrow.