With little sign of us getting out of Lockdown in the near future, this could be time to look at those many things that you perhaps left to one side due to the pressures of day to day business, If you or your staff are still working but not gainfully employed every minute of every day as before – then why not look at the following:
- Your overall risk management – do you have documented policies and procedures in place for these – commonly known as a safety management system. You may well have the policies and procedures but not all pulled together into one useful document that can be used as your defence should anything go wrong. This could well be an ideal time to get that in order. Lawyers and Insurers love companies who have well documented Safety Management Systems – so do Private Equity Finance companies – its one of the things they look for as part of their due diligence when looking to buy into travel businesses.
- Do you have an assessment strategy for your overseas suppliers from a health & safety perspective – if not – this is the perfect time to get that organised – whilst some DMC’s, hotels, transport and activity suppliers are completely shut, many like you have some staff working to ensure they are prepared for the hopeful rebound in bookings – again they are not fully gainfully employed at the moment – so potentially a good time for them to complete any safety self assessment documents to help with your due diligence.
- Training is also something to think about – there are a number of online health & safety courses you can take up – this would allow some of your staff to gain qualifications in health & safety and give them an understanding of the issues to look out for. Alternatively consultancies such as ours can organise online health & safety seminars via the usual video conferencing mediums if you wanted to give your remote teams a little bit of relevant health & safety training.
- Preparing for the lifting of lockdown restrictions and procedures you may need to put in place are also worth looking at. If staff are currently working remotely but you are then able to open your office up – how can you do that whilst retaining some form of social distancing and health care for your team. Do you have minimal staff in initially so they can be seated 2 metres apart, do you have hand gel, sanitisers, regular cleaning/sanitising of all the touch points in the office (door handles, kettle, kitchen surfaces, toilets, coffee machines, telephones, computers etc). Can you test staff’s temperature when they get to work, what action do you take if they display any Covid 19 symptoms. Can you provide parking so they don’t have to take public transport initially? Do you have some form of profiling in order to decide who can stay working at home and who can perhaps come into the office – so anyone with pre-exisitng medical condition or elderly relatives at home could stay there – those who are young and living alone or have had the virus and are now recovered could come to work – again minimising risk to your staff appropriately – in line with government guidance which may well be provided in the future.
- Crisis Management – this is the perfect time to review your crisis management plan – you have just been through the biggest crises to face the travel industry and this is the perfect time to look at how you dealt with it – what went well, what went wrong and what do you need to do to amend your plan for the future so that any new crises is handled even better. How did you manage to deal with all the issues when you were suddenly faced with – was your technology up to speed, could you contact everyone you needed to, amend websites, change call answering messages, issue policies, procedures, press statements, work efficiently within the office space and then has technology allowed you to function remotely as the crisis moved into business continuity. We would certainly recommend having a de-brief with your team over the handling of the crises so you can flesh out things that didn’t work so you can put plans in place to correct them once you are up and running again.
- Supplier review – this is also a good time to review your suppliers – who helped you the most, who was unhelpful, who was organised, who was disorganised. Again this is the time to re-evaluate your supplier relations and hone in on those who were most helpful/useful during the crisis and who you know had your customers and your business at the forefront. These are the suppliers you want to continue working with in the future.
- Team Spirit/Team Morale – Its very important you try to maintain some form of team spirit/morale despite the current lockdown restrictions, so keeping in regular touch with staff, video calls, updates, e-mail, phone calls – even if they are furloughed you can still provide information (as long as they are not doing any work). Mental health, Well being and Resilience are all important factors – I can recommend you look at some publications from an ex Thomson colleague of mine who writes a lovely series of bite-sized books on the subject (and also works with the UN on these issues) – some of which she gives away free – so if you want want to send some copies to members of your team check them out at: www.liggywebb.com