Prepare Now For a Potential New Wave of Coronavirus Infections This Winter.
The UK government has recently announced a further easing of lockdown in the UK and are hopeful that we will see a “significant return to normality” by Christmas.
However, there is much speculation about a second wave, not just in the UK but globally, Combine the disruption COVID-19 has already created within the NHS and health services, with the usual challenges winter poses, such as a flu-epidemic and other infectious illnesses, which are more common in winter, this presents a serious risk to health in the UK.
Research suggests that COVID-19 is more likely to spread in winter, with people spending more time indoors and the virus able to survive longer in colder, darker winter conditions. Scientists are urging the UK to start preparing now for a potential new wave of coronavirus infections this winter, suggesting it could be more serious than the first.
The BBC has reported that the UK could see about 120,000 new coronavirus deaths in a second wave of infections this winter.
Also, under current guidelines, people who have a continuous cough or high temperature should self-isolate for 14 days. Most common winter bugs and illnesses include such symptoms, and therefore it is vital business start planning now for the disruption this may cause.
So, what can businesses do to plan for winter 2020?
- Use scenario planning to make flexible plans the business can embrace should the situation arise. Best practice would be to produce detailed scenarios which include a reasonable worst-case scenario and assesses the business impact.
- Review the impact of potential local lockdowns and consider effects to supply and demand, building in contingency plans which will cause the least disruption to the business.
- Cross-train employees to ensure essential business functions can continue to operate should the company be faced with staffing shortages.
- The current furlough scheme is due to end on 31st October 2020, employers should be looking at what this will mean for them now, and how employees will be supported back into the workplace.
- Plan for potential staff shortages or disruption staffing levels during the winter months, due to ill health and employees self-isolating.
- Plan for increased remote working, ensuring employees have the right equipment and technology to conduct their role. Employers should also carry out a risk assessment to check the employees home set up.
- Take proactive steps to support employees’ health and wellbeing. For example, employers could look at offering employees the flu vaccination. Scientists have urged for an increase in the number of people who have the flu vaccination this year to safeguard against the worse effect of flu.
- Continue to communicate and engage employees in the business’ response to COVID-19.
- Where additional resource may be required, build relationships with agencies to be on hand to support with any resourcing gaps as and when required.
If you would like further guidance or support on this matter or require advice on other people management matters please contact Clover HR on 0121 516 0299 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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