Insights: Covid-19

Covid-19 and making the difficult decisions as an Isle of Man Employer

Douglas, Isle of Man: March 12th, 2020
article by Andy Orton

We took some positive measures today in the interests of our staff, their families and friends. It was quite a debate but something I felt we could all do with relative ease.

Whilst I am respectful of the authorities advice; after reviewing the almost identical trajectory of new cases the UK has in common with Italy; I’m not really comfortable with the wait and see approach. Having been in business for sometime and having sat in many boardrooms, the UK’s policy so far seems all too familiar - cost/benefit analysis.

I have heard of some measures other local employers have put in place and I thought I’d share ours:

The No Brainers

• No handshakes
• No business travel
• No face-to-face client meetings
• Vitamin C, D and Zinc supplies for all staff
• Paper towels and removal of cloth towels
• Turn off of hand dryers in toilet facilities
• The daily stand-up meeting is cancelled for the foreseeable
• Google Hangouts replaces all face to face external and internal meetings
• One to one meetings will also be done by Google Hangouts
• A voluntary rota for additional office cleaning was established
• Bottled water was supplied in great quantity
• VPN access was expanded
• Internal comms tools were added to all staffs mobile devices and device policies installed
• We also discussed gyms, swimming pools, schools, public gatherings and anything else we could think of.

Side note: you don’t need fancy video conferencing facilities for internal and external meetings. Some headsets, cheap cameras and Google Hangouts - fantastic result.

The Difficult Decisions

• Staff who are currently off the island will be asked to work from home for one week before returning to the office
• Staff with booked holidays were made aware if they do travel overseas they may also be asked to work temporarily at home before returning to work
• We’ve created a 3 metre distance between each staff member
• One third of our staff were relocated into our meeting rooms (as they won’t be used for client meetings)
• Some staff took up camp in our meeting pods
• Some staff were asked if they’d be happy to work from home
• The staff on our main floor were separated to be more than 3m apart
• The highly trafficked coffee machines and tea making facilities (made with metal) were removed and we purchased flasks for each staff member

Extreme? perhaps yes. Necessary? perhaps not.

Worth the inconvenience, cost and small loss of revenues? definitely.


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