Priority 2 : Maintaining good service to clients

COVID-19 Coronavirus

Written by Glenn Elliott

Last published at: March 26th, 2020

UPDATE 26 Mar : All portfolio companies are now working from home and have these plans well under way. We're leaving this page live for reference and for anyone else who may need the guidance.

The current threat to good service is continuing good service in the face of lower revenue. See our article on Managing Commercial Impacts of COVID-19

Your service to employees is threatened by disruption if :

  • you have large numbers of employees of sick at the same time (capacity issues)
  • you have a small number of employees off sick but they are concentrated in a key department, skill set or capability (point of failure)
  • your employees are well but are prevented by movement restrictions on getting to work
  • schools are closed temporarily causing disruption to working parents

Some things to consider

  • Establish a cross-functional crisis management team today
    Ask then to read this site and have them consider the questions above and develop a plan and actions. Communicate the existence of that team to your staff, establish lines of communication, publish phone numbers and explain to everyone what you are doing.

  • Identify critical, narrow points of failure
    Look for areas where a few people off
    sick at the same time could impact service. For example in password reset if only two or three people have access to reset passwords and they are all off sick you'll be stuck. Quickly cross train other staff to widen the skill base and consider giving additional people access to key systems, carefully without impacting data security.

  • Review remote working access
    Does everyone that needs one have a laptop and ability to work from home? Should that be expanded? Ask staff to take laptops and chargers home every night in case they cannot get to work unexpectedly.

  • Set-up proactive IT support
    Consider if IT can run additional training or provide help and assistance on remote working techniques, use of video conferencing, use of internal messaging or remote access systems. Prepare now for a possible eventually where your office is less accessible or inaccessible.

  • Consider a readiness test
    Consider holding a remote working readiness test in the next few days where you ask all staff to work from home for one day so that you can quickly assess the impact. Sometimes just even considering this move will reveal where the crunch or weak points are.

Companies that are already operating in a decentralised way with flexible and home working will find this easier. We know that this is impossible for a number of our portfolio companies where on-premises systems and technology are critical.