Following the outbreak of the Covid-19, I have been asked by a number of clients what our plans are in the event of a large scale Coronavirus outbreak, leading to quarantine measures imposed similar to that which is currently in force in many parts of Europe.
I sincerely hope what we have seen around Europe remains an unlikely scenario, but I want to assure all of our clients that our existing disaster planning covers all eventualities including the total destruction of the town of Harrogate, so, hopefully, this should not be too much of a stretch!
As a company, we foster a flexible working environment for all staff where possible, and in the event of an enforced quarantine, all our staff can work effectively from home.
Most of our systems, including our telephone system, are cloud based and accessible from anywhere. For tasks that are restricted to our Harrogate office, we have secure remote working facilities in place. This means any situation that forces the office to close should be largely imperceptible to you, our clients.
Most of the support work we carry out is done remotely either over the phone or via our back-office systems which provides remote access for all staff.
However, I have to place the well-being of our staff and clients at the fore. Therefore, I am asking all our clients to consider holding review meetings with our advisers (myself included) using the various technological services available, most of which are free to use these days. Options such as Skype, Face Time and Ring Central are readily available and our advisers are geared to use these facilities. Minimising face to face contact will help reduce the risk of contraction which must be a good thing for us all.
However, should a home, office or site visit be required, we will undertake a risk assessment to determine if the issue is serious enough to require putting you or us at risk.
Obviously, no amount of planning or technology can completely mitigate the effects of large-scale staff illness but we will continue to follow the guidance from Public Health England and do all we can to minimise the risks.
We are already beginning to see constraints with our providers with some shutting their head office which is impacting on the service they can provide to us and ultimately to you. The result of this action, if replicated across all service providers, will increase lead times and delays for customer services.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of the information above, please do not hesitate to contact myself or your adviser.
Niall Gunn, Managing Director