With lockdown set to gradually lift and various sectors beginning to return to work, companies need to ensure that business continuity planning and employee communication is top of mind and executed with caution.

According to Gys Kappers, CEO of Wyzetalk – a leading mobile-first digital employee engagement company – as the lockdown is slowly lifted, we can expect to experience a continued rise in COVID-19 infections as employees return to work. He says it is therefore critical for businesses to put continuity plans in place that will help to restore interrupted business services as the situation unfolds. He says that this is particularly important for industries such as retail, food processing, mining and manufacturing – which employ thousands of people who cannot perform their work function from home.

“Unfortunately, even with strict hygiene protocols and staggered numbers of workers returning at a time, businesses will need to prepare for the inevitability of staff falling ill and put safety and contingency plans in place. Once a robust hygiene and business continuity approach is established, it is crucial to communicate timeously with your workforce to ensure it rolls out as planned to keep employees safe and informed.”

“Being able to disseminate clear and accurate communication to every employee, especially when they are operating at the frontline, is key to keeping employees productive and safe while providing an essential service to the country.”

Kappers says that an additional challenge that employers will need to consider is how to communicate with employees who are dispersed all over the country. “Businesses resuming operations need to start getting in touch with employees to inform them about the reopening plans and precautionary measures that will need to be adhered to.”

Pre-screening before returning to work

These precautionary measured include temperature checks upon arrival. “Through our digital platform, Wyzetalk can facilitate a COVID-19 screening pre-evaluation form. Even before leaving home, employees can answer key questions directly on their personal mobile device and receive a score indicating green for the all clear to return to work, or a red flag if their score didn’t meet the minimum requirements.” explains Kappers.

Red flags are escalated to the business so that they can notify the individual to remain home. These simple technological capabilities can prove to be significant in helping businesses to continue operating effectively.