Assistance Companies Provide Invaluable Support During Pandemic
Facing the Storm: The Role of Assistance Companies to Keep Organisations Afloat during Pandemics.
For many companies, the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed previously unknown vulnerabilities.
Into this storm where product demand can be decimated, supply chains delayed, and organisational functioning disrupted, companies and their employees can feel at sea, not knowing what’s best to do.
Within just a few weeks of 2020, the discourse has changed from how to maximise company profits, to whether companies can survive; from issues of economics to those of epidemiology, virology and immunology.
No wonder many feel out of their depth.
Keeping In Front Of The Curve
At these times having dependable advice from those well-versed in pandemic medicine and organisational psychology, is not an added-extra but an essential for the safety of the company and its employee alike.
In fact, leading assistance companies such as Collinson, a global company in the provision of international medical, security and travel risk management services, have not only consulted for a range of organisations, but have also been putting into practice the same measures to keep their own business and staff protected throughout their many global locations during the coronavirus crisis.
This has been a time of support, interpretation and action. Guiding companies during these confusing times has been a central role for Collinson. Part of this involves explaining the often-complex medical issues to a predominantly business audience and advising on action to be considered.
A good assistance organisation allows client companies to be in front of the curve: recommending action before it becomes mandatory.
This is never more important than when ensuring the wellbeing and safety of the workforce. For example, promptly establishing what is needed to allow employees to work from home (WFH) was essential before many governments issued homeworking orders. The efficient ordering of hardware, having software solutions to encourage teamworking, and initiating WFH trials have preserved productivity, whereas other unprepared companies have been left on the back foot when ordered to work from home.
For those who cannot work from home, action to reduce the likelihood of viral transmission in the office is needed.
Increasing the space between workers, encouraging workers to keep a two-metre space around them at all times, facilitating conference calls instead of face to face meetings, and distributing hand gel throughout the office are just some of the measures that are advised by Collinson.
Workers in non-office environments, such as factories and building sites, need special consideration, often requiring adaptations to the use of changing rooms, canteens and other shared spaces.
Identifying At Risk Employees
To further protect workers, the medical teams of assistance companies are able to identify which employees are particularly at risk, should they become infected with COVID-19.
As those with particular chest conditions, heart issues, or those who have problems with their immune systems, can become very unwell with the coronavirus, confidential consultations between assistance company medics and workers concerning medical history has been an important way to ensure that all is done to protect this at-risk group.
In fact, Collinson offers its clients a 24/7 pandemic support hotline that allows employees to discuss a wide range of issues: including, when to stay at home, how to remain safe, and when to return to work. Having direct contact with expert advice during these times is appreciated by employees and management alike.
Attention Turns From Action To Planning
As the pandemic matures, attention can turn from action to planning, as a return to BAU is anticipated. For each country, it is important to closely follow the lead given by the authorities, as they will likely orchestrate how businesses return to normal operations.
As each country has dealt with the pandemic in differing ways, their return to work strategies will also likely be different.
Some governments are advocating widespread COVID-19 antibody testing to define who is at lower risk of transmitting the infection. Others are likely to keep restrictions on those at particularly high risk of becoming severely unwell with the coronavirus, such as the elderly or those with significant past-medical histories. Yet others have stated they may relax and reinstate controls several times, to facilitate herd-immunity to occur.
As the case numbers of the present pandemic decrease and constraints are released, attention must turn to the preparations needed for the next wave of infection – successive waves can occur until the population has herd immunity or an effective vaccine has been developed.
In this complex and frequently changing crisis, where the risks to the employee and company are colossal, it has never been more important to source expert advice. Together we can weather this storm.
About Collinson Group
Collinson is a global leader in the provision of medical, security and travel risk management services. Leveraging a heritage of over 55 years in emergency assistance, and operating out of 20 locations globally, our 2,200 employees successfully deliver a broad range of services designed to ensure the safety, welfare and productivity of more than 20 million people travelling, living and working in over 170 countries. Annually, we answer more than 1 million requests for assistance, respond to over 95,000 emergency calls, manage over 40,000 medical cases, and conduct over 3,000 aero-medical evacuations.
Collinson’s 24/7/365 global resources and expertise provide a comprehensive suite of travel risk services for mobile employees that help organisations manage their duty of care towards staff that operate away from their home country. Whether you require a full travel risk management program for your employees, a customised assistance solution, crisis management planning or specific analysis and support for remote site operations, Collinson can build a solution that enables you to protect your most valuable assets, as well as protecting your organisational risk.
Dr. Simon Worrell is Global Medical Director at Collinson. He has over 20 years of experience in the delivery of international medical assistance and emergency care and significant specialist expertise in immunology and communicable diseases. As an Immunologist, he regularly advises Governments and Multi-National Organizations on the risks and management of disease outbreaks such as Ebola, Zika and Influenza, and now COVID-19.