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Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Introduction

With the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering Shared Services from either a global hub, or multiple regional hubs becomes problematic.  The strategy for a limited number of centers with hundreds or thousands of employees is impacted dramatically when faced with a dangerous virus that is easily transmitted between people who are working in close proximity.

Within days of the pandemic moving from China to Europe and North America, Peeriosity members were communicating and sharing information for how they were responding.  In a few weeks, in April 2020, members will participate in a Peeriosity PeercastTM featuring a panel of leading member companies sharing ideas and answering questions about Shared Services delivery with the emergence of COVID-19.  This “for members only” PeercastTM supports open and candid discussions between members in a confidential environment, completely free from outside influence or bias, with the ability for all attendees to communicate and follow up with other members at any time.

iPollingTM Results Review

Peeriosity’s iPollingTM was used recently to deliver real-time insights to how members were responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The first polling question asked about the measures member companies have adopted in response to the pandemic.  While many options and combinations were available, polling results centered on two choices, with 70% of companies adopting the combination of significantly restricted travel, working from home, and social distancing in the work environment.  The balance of 30% had not formally implemented social distancing in the work environment at the time the poll was conducted (in mid-March 2020).  Here are the details:

The second polling question asked if other measure were being taken, with 39% responding yes, 6% responding not yet, but likely, and the remaining 55% responding no, with no plans at this time. 

Here are some comments from responding companies:

  • We developed a contingency plan for business essential functions requiring access to office (check printing, critical mail etc.).
  • Additional cleaning procedures.
  • Reviewing contingency plans for all critical business functions.
  • Our Corporate Office has encouraged working from home through April 3rd. In preparation for this shift of the work location, a formal network test was conducted.
  • Prohibiting visitors, outside vendors, etc. from entering building.
  • Prioritizing our processes based on their criticality to our business operations.
  • Periodic cleaning of high-touch areas (doorknobs, elevator buttons, etc.)
  • Anticipate staffing challenges with the school closings.
  • Increased cleaning of offices.
  • Outside vendor restrictions, prioritization / support of business-critical processes.
  • Additional sanitation, work from home for office workers, business continuity plan implemented for global operations, project prioritization, evaluating employee leave policies, evaluating technical needs.
  • Altered store hours and extended sick time/personal leave for hourly associates.
  • We’ve increased cleaning/sanitation cycles/procedures as well as increased postings on hand washing and other proper hygiene practices. In addition, we’ve stressed that if an employee is exhibiting any symptoms of a sickness, they should stay home.
  • Similar to others – additional cleaning; no visitors to our sites; staffing challenges with external labor; contingency plans in place for essential functions; BCP for supply chains.
  • Disinfectants available in the office (at the beginning, before WFH was the main, strongly encouraged solution), extended IT support in order to move all necessary equipment home as a measure to provide the most comfortable conditions for employees while working from home. In factories: adjusting shifts, cafeteria access etc. to increase safety of crucial production line employees.

Closing Summary

Peeriosity members are able to directly connect with leading peers on any issue, even ones that are completely new, where the impact on their Shared Services organizations and across their companies are significant and urgent.  Soon after the crisis became a priority for all of us, Peeriosity members were sharing ideas and discussing approaches for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Results of a recent poll on the topic suggest that all member companies are impacted, with all choosing to restrict travel and implement work from home solutions wherever possible.  For employees who are not able to work from home because of nature of their responsibilities, many are implementing social distancing recommendations to control the spread of the virus.

How has your company responded to the COVID-19 pandemic?  How valuable was your business continuity plan for helping navigate the possible solutions for how to respond? What issues or challenges are you still facing?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?

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“iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility to all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPolling.

Peeriosity members are invited to log into www.peeriosity.com to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.



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