CCC approach to Coronavirus version 2 updated 13/3/20

I think we can all agree that the news yesterday, as the UK government moves into the “delay” phase of its plan to tackle coronavirus, highlights just how significant the ability to control the spread of this virus will impact on how we are going to be able to go about our work and personal lives over the coming months. I’ve got a few things to go over here and feel it best to let you know what I’m going to be covering in the next few pages:

  1. Updates from last few days
  2. Response to last update
  3. How are other clients approaching this
  4. What happens if you close your office and continual payment for services

I put out part one of our approach to the coronavirus only a couple of days ago and we have had a tremendous response to this and great support – so, many many thanks for that.  I have a strong feeling that you’re going to see a few more of these documents from me over the next few weeks as I update you on how we’re finding everything is playing out.

I imagine that these updates will take a similar form to this and my intention is only to let you know how we’ve been getting on with many of the new practices we’re putting in place and update you of any additional measures and actions we’ve taken (and seen elsewhere) that may have an impact on the work we do for you.

I also thought that it would also prove useful to you if I was to include within these updates (purely for information purposes) how some of our other clients were adopting changes to their working practices and how they’re approaching this whole thing in the hope we can use some of their learnings to update our own approach to this rapidly changing situation.

Updates from the last couple of days

Things are moving pretty quickly now and I’ll look to cover these points as quickly as I can but if you want any other information please just email or give me a call.

  • Hand sanitizer – it’s not all sold out. One of our suppliers has a supply (but this will change daily) so, let me know if you’re looking for more and I’ll put you in touch with them.
  • Toilet rolls and hand towels – again are all in stock pretty much everywhere. Panic buying is still an issue but don’t be worrying – these things are in plenty of supply.

I mentioned in my last update that we were putting in additional supplies of a specialist cleaning product that can kill the virus from surfaces – well, we’ve already started putting supplies of it out and will have it all out across all contracts by the end of next week. In addition to this we’ve also stocked up on disposable gloves and have recommended to all cleaners (as many of them don’t normally like wearing gloves) to put them on and if we need to supply masks then we’ve got supplies of them too.

Response to last update

In pulling together my last document – what I’d hoped to do was provide you with something that not only updated you on our approach to this issue, answered any questions that you may have had and also give you something that would prove informative and maybe, on another level, instil within you some comfort and confidence knowing that we have your back and that there are options we can put in place. What we certainly didn’t want happening was a client of ours sitting waiting, with fingers crossed, hoping the worst wouldn’t arrive – when we now know it most likely will and at least if nothing else my mission is to make sure our clients are better prepared for it than anyone else.

I was expecting most clients to just email back saying “thanks for this, much appreciated” – and they did, but what I genuinely wasn’t expecting was the very high volume of clients that came back looking for us to do a bit more and most have opted for the extra half hour per day to get done all the extra things that I listed for you.

For all the clients that have asked for us additional help at this time – we’re now got all of this sorted out and we’re also recruiting some additional staff that we feel we now need to assist us in helping you through these unusual times.

How are other clients approaching this?

This may seem a strange heading to put in but I only do so because whilst so many clients are taking very similar approaches – others have completely different ones and there may be some shared learnings that can come from these. Things like:

  • Wedge open all doors to stop people needing to touch handles – whilst a very simple and easy thing to do – most clients aren’t doing this. We understand that you’ll have fire doors and toilet doors that can’t be left propped open but for those that can then why not?
  • Signage throughout the office – a simple thing but many clients have put up a lot of signs around various points of their office reminding their staff about the hygiene factors that are so important in containing the spread of this virus. We understand that this is a partnership where we’re all working together to ensure your office as safe as we both can make it.
  • Splitting the company in two – we now have a growing number of clients that have taken this approach. How they’re working this is that Team 1 will be in the office this week whilst Team 2 all work from home. At the weekend a deep clean of surfaces will take place and next week they’ll reverse the order with Team 2 in the office with Team 1 at home. Working this way at least protects half the company should someone become infected. If this was to happen to anyone in Team 1 then a deep clean would be done and Team 2 would then do 2 weeks in the office with Team 1 all working from home again, whilst also self isolating at the same time. I’m not sure quite exactly what would happen if anyone in Team 2 caught the virus at the same time – but at least it’s a plan.
  • Splitting the team (but slightly differently) – again another client has taken the same approach but done it differently in that instead of rotating the teams weekly they’re going to do it fortnightly – thus imposing a full 2 weeks self isolation for those working from home. Also when the teams are working from home they are not allowed to mix with any other company employees or visit clients, agencies or suppliers.
  • Test full office closure – we have a couple of clients doing this where they’ve already closed for a full day with no staff in to see how they could cope over an extended period. I’m not sure yet how successful this was but will update you when I know more
  • Full office closure – possibly only an option for clients that can fully function as normal with every single member of staff working from home.

What happens if you close your office and continual payment for services

We all have a duty of care and a responsibility to put our staff interests first and we fully understand why you’ll have taken this step. When your office is closed we can continue to clean but do deeper cleans or if you’re closed only whilst you’re waiting on a biohazard clean being done, should a member of your team become infected, (including fogging etc as per last update) then you can be assured we’ll do everything in our power to get you operating again as quickly as possible.

If you were to take the decision to close – we would still have to invoice for our time in the normal way. We appreciate that this is a very difficult situation and one that none of us has encountered ever before. A “black swan moment” is how I’ve heard it being described by presenters on BBC Radio 5 live.

All of our staff have contracted hours (we have no zero hours contracts) and with rents and mortgages still to be paid they’re fully expecting us to pay them as normal just as I’m sure all of your staff will be whilst not in the office. We realise that if this continues for an extended period that some of our clients may have to take drastic measures and start making redundancies and, at that time, we’d have to do the same thing.

We know this is a temporary situation and we are doing our very best to feel our way through this whilst being fair and honourable to both our clients and our staff. By taking this approach, with your support, we feel it’s the only way we can guarantee that we have the staff in place for when normal services resume.

We hope you’re able to support us in this difficult time but I appreciate your company may take a different view. The bottom line is we don’t want to lose you as a client but neither do we want to make redundancies until this has played out over a longer period. If proceeding in this manner was to prove a problem please get in touch with me as soon as possible.

So, to recap

  • All extra cleaning schedules are in place for next week
  • All contracts will have supplies of new virus killing surface cleaner in next week and extra gloves for the cleaners.
  • We’re recruiting more staff right now to help get our clients through this next few months
  • Hand sanitizer and toilet rolls are available
  • Prices for fogging are in but probably not worth sharing here yet as we’re negotiating on time per job rather than square footage of office space. So, each office would be treated separately
  • We’re also not taking on or providing support to anyone that isn’t a current client at this time. Our responsibility is to ensure everything is working for you and we’re not going to spread ourselves too thin as we don’t yet know how this will impact on our own staff numbers as the virus works its way through the next few weeks.

I’ll update you again as soon as I have more information worth sharing. If there’s anything else I can do in the meantime do please let me know.

Best regards

Stephen