How businesses can flatten the curve during a COVID-19 pandemic.
The first case of corona virus disease (COVID-19) was diagnosed in Nigeria late February, unsettling a large section of the country. In the wake of the outbreak the stock market around the globe plummeted, bringing most business activities and supply chains to a halt. Most sporting and public activities have been adversely affected, by the negative effects of the outbreak of COVID-19 and recently, the governments in Europe, America and Asia have announced a “lock down” of their respective countries.
The reasons are not farfetched, in light of the rapid spread of the virus through close contact with an infected person, governments are taking measures to avoid new infections while flattening the curve on existing ones.
In Nigeria, the news of daily confirmed cases announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have spread swiftly and caused fear and panic within the country. The government has recently advised against large gatherings and abruptly closed all schools and non-essential public offices around the country.
These measures have disrupted supply chains and business, leaving business owners disturbed on how effectively they are able to operate their businesses in the light of the prevailing circumstances.
Work Place Responses to Covid-19
Organizations across the globe are undergoing substantial changes on an accelerated timeline, adjusting work schedules in line with current realities. One of the most popular measures adopted by businesses and companies to reduce contact between their employees and therefore minimise the risk of contagion is to implement a remote or teleworking regime where the nature of their business activities in question allow. Telework or remote working for some or all employees is adopted, using networks, VPNs, and other IT resources capable of supporting such a shift. Organizations that have not built such teleworking apparatus into their disaster preparedness plans should take immediate steps to factor these in.
Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, most companies and businesses used physical office spaces. However, for those businesses which had adopted contemporary modern office technology tools for ease of work and ensuring efficient and excellent service delivery, this transition to telework would be a lot easier, compared to businesses that maintained analogue approach to work. The technological work tools required at this period ought to be internet-enabled platforms to ensure seamless dissemination of information internally and externally.
We at Stark Legal Nigeria have always leveraged on technology in the delivery of services to our clients. Prior to the pandemic outbreak, we had deployed remote working schedules to mitigate the drop in productivity due to pervasive traffic jams within the Lagos metropolis. To help flatten the curve, the firm has adopted additional measures to guarantee continued service delivery.
Some of the work adjustments adopted by our firm include:
- Notification to clients of the change in work model
- Ensuring all staff stay home with their work tools e.g Laptops
- Electronic file management systems
- Internet enabled general server
- Virtual based means of communication
- Electronic research-based platforms
- Use of Docusign for documents that require signature
- Use of emails, WhatsApp, Skype, text messaging and voice calls
- Use of logistics companies for deliveries
For our firm, safety considerations apply to the firm and our clients. Urgent work that require physical signature of a client is resolved using docusign, while other documents and updates are sent via email and google drive. Zoom and Skype are used to hold virtual meetings and legal opinions and evaluations are sent via email.
For litigation and dispute resolution cases, the courts in Nigeria have specified cases that would be attended to during this period hence, attendance at court, where imperative is done, taking into consideration social distancing and adhering to safety precautions put out by health experts.
Adopting telework after the test period was successfully run, has been quite easy to adapt.
Some happenings in human existence are simply unforeseeable hence, every business in the 21st Century should adapt to changing situations. In the service delivery sector, leveraging on technology at these trying times would go a long way in ensuring safety as well as efficient and consistent service delivery.
The World Health Organisation having declared Covid-19 a pandemic, caution should be a priority at this point. The sooner every business becomes pragmatic in imbibing safety precautions as a core value, the easier it would be to protect our collective existence.