Far from sensationalising or doom-saying, we at Construction Advisor have started talking to some of our clients about reasonable preparations for the next few weeks and months in the uncertain times as the Covid19 virus develops (and no, we don’t mean stockpiling toilet paper and pasta). Observing the actions taken in countries such as China, South Korea, Iran, USA and Italy, there seems a very real likelihood that Australia will at some point experience some level of social disruption. So what thought have you given to your business and operations should this occur?
The probability is that there will be some construction sites and administration sites that will experience a period of shutdown and/or quarantine meaning that a portion of your workforce, ill or not, may not be able to present to work. We are in no place to provide any legal guidance about your rights and responsibilities in relation to how this situation is handled from an employment/leave perspective. But have you considered how you may keep these workers productive during this period?
The good news is that in a connected world even home isolation is no barrier to interacting both in a business sense but also with information and education. Where possible, depending on roles and responsibilities, some workers will be able to continue to function in a remote capacity, but what about those who can’t? Now is a good time to look at suitable online short-course professional development options that these other workers can engage in if the situation arises. Developing a list of approved options (paid or free) to offer these workers is a proactive step you can take to prepare.
We’re not even going to try to list all of the resources available on the net, but some worthwhile considerations may include: HR/HSE courses, Technical Development such as Computer Skills or Professional Development such as writing and presentation skills. Having some form of approved professional development framework such as this is not just for a possible pandemic but equally valuable for staff in the longer term who may not be able to present to work for a variety of reasons.