The COVID-19 Risk Arc: A Map to Navigate to the New Normal

June 22, 2020 David Smith

As the world emerges from the cloud of COVID-19, some are heading back to the workplace, while others are attempting to scale operations to suit the “new normal.”

You may still be unsure of exactly what this new normal looks like for your business and your workforce. We must all now assess risk and compliance through a new lens. SAI Global’s COVID-19 Risk Arc provides leaders with an organizing construct to develop and visualize the next steps for your business.

 

So where are we now?

Looking at the arc above, companies are now midway at the inflection or pivot point. What you do now will determine how your company will prevail down the road. As you’re operationalizing your new normal, you must also assess the impact of current health and safety controls and regulations as you bring your workforce back to their physical locations.

With so many risks and issues to consider, now more than ever, a structured and strategic response is required.

Adaptability is the new competitive advantage

The H.G. Wells quote, “Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative,” should be the operating mantra of every company as you start to pivot.  Now is the time to review and reset how your business operates.

As overwhelming as it sounds, there is tremendous opportunity here. This truly is a time when you can increase your risk agility, reduce bureaucracy and elevate your preparedness. Because companies have been forced to accelerate digital-first and cloud-based initiatives, organizations have become much more agile. And this increased agility will be invaluable to the future resilience of your business.

The new normal is here to stay. There is no going back. We can only move forward.

What does it mean to pivot?

Technology will be the key. We can’t stress this enough. Harnessing the right technology for your business and industry will support how you adapt, increasing your agility — and in the end, strengthening your resilience.

A recent study of 4,000 UK manufacturing companies by the Australian National University identified a correlation between increasing debt and the likelihood of corner-cutting at an operational level. Specifically, the data showed that businesses that increased debt by 20% experienced a similar increase in safety breaches.

This is where cloud-based risk management software with digitized, configurable workflows can support your COVID-19 response, such as by providing a range of inspection checklists, specific health monitoring and tracking capabilities, and respiratory protection tools.  

Keys to a successful pivot

For your organization’s strategic and well-considered way forward, cloud-based software such as SAI360 can help you to:

1. Engage your workforce

Enhanced communications will be increasingly important as more and more people work remotely. Leave nothing unsaid. Communicate with your people regularly to help them stay totally focused on health and safety risks and engage them in the development of new procedures, guidelines, and training materials.

2. Manage changes

The nature of your work may have changed and your workforce composition has likely been impacted. Using a digital Management of Change process, you can ensure that changes are reviewed by the right people to avoid unintended consequences. An appropriate implementation plan can be transparently established and associated actions can be managed to closure.

3. Simplify monitoring and drive accountability

Actively monitoring the safety and well-being of workers in the early days and weeks following their return to work or the workplace, as well as monitoring those workers who are working remotely, will be essential. By driving accountability of tasks that need to be undertaken, you’ll have the agility to fix any issues quickly.

Using technology to monitor workplaces and people will allow you to make data-driven decisions while retaining focus and maintaining momentum.

4. Assess effectiveness

As we gradually return to work, we’ll need to ensure workplaces are safe and continually remain so by making sure workers are adapting and observing the new ways of working such as new hygiene practices and social distancing measures.

 

At SAI Global, we’ve spent the last few months developing and fine-tuning the COVID-19 Risk Arc for our clients and ourselves. These times have been challenging with a capital “C”, but there is an upside.

The way forward should not only provide clearance to return to the workplace, but it can also transform companies into being more adaptable, agile and resilient.

The key will be a strategic and integrated approach to your company’s health and the health of your employees. As your trusted partner and advisor, we’re here to help you in any way we can.

There have been many lessons learned throughout this pandemic both in life and in business. And if we take the time to implement that learning going forward, we will all be better for it.  

 


More on how the Risk Arc can guide your steps towards resilience

 


Visit our pandemic information center, which includes reading materials, podcasts, shareable videos, and best-practice guidance around managing business continuity, compliance, workforce health and safety, and risk management as we all navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

About the Author

David Smith

David  Smith is Commercial Director EHS at SAI Global. A seasoned EHS, sustainability risk management professional and thought leader, David has more than 20 years of experience delivering EHS strategies for leading organizations across a wide range of industries, including energy, defense, pharmaceuticals, and financial services. As part of the EHS portfolio at SAI Global, David utilizes his EHS practitioner perspective to help drive product innovation, the commercial growth of the portfolio as well as helping to identify the needs of our customers to enable them to achieve operational excellence. David has a first Honours Degree in Environmental Science and PG Cert focused in Occupational Safety and Health from the University of Greenwich.

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