Top 10 ways to prepare for COVID-19
Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s Top 10 ways organisations can prepare for a pandemic, via effective operational risk management.
As the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to develop, many businesses are left uncertain as to whether their risk mitigation plan is sufficient.
In a recent webinar conducted by the research and advisory firm just 12% of 1,500 people believe that their business is highly prepared for the impact of COVID-19, while 56% believed themselves to be somewhat prepared, and 11% believed themselves to be very unprepared.
“Most organizations have done some pandemic planning but still have many unanswered questions about whether they have done everything they can to manage risks,” says Jim Mello, Senior Director, Advisory, Gartner.
Establish a preparedness framework
Establish a team that represents all critical business functions. These people will report directly to executive management and are responsible for prioritising the importance of business activities and organise them in tiers for response and recovery.
Monitor the situation
It is important to ensure that organisations monitor the rate in which the infection is spreading and its severity. Many rely on the World Health Organisation for information.
Be sure to revise revenue forecasts and communicate with investors, as well as suppliers in regards to any potential finance issues. It is important to ensure that the business has the working capital to ride it out.
Ways to ensure this include: working capital checks, seeking loans or government-sponsored financial relief.
Extend personal hygiene and cleaning protocols
It is important to comply with any changes to workplace regulations. In addition, it is important to establish protocols for staff returning from infected areas, as well as extending existing hygiene activities.
Ensure close monitoring of absenteeism rates for signs of problems. It is important to identify critical staff in order to make sure the company can continue to function in their absence and be prepared for up to 40% absentee rates.
In addition to reviewing HR policies and procedures, it is important to maintain a level of sensitivity when it comes to engaging with employees and workplace preferences.
Establish a communication programme
People can feel out of the loop quickly. Establish a spokesperson appropriate for the situation who can maintain lines of communication. In addition, organisations should establish pre-approved messages and scripts for various stakeholders.
Review the impact on the operation
Although this may seem overwhelming, the team established to represent all critical business functions should identify key areas to consider. It is important to maintain a connection with the reality on the ground in countries affected.
Key questions to consider: is transport functioning? Have holidays been extended? Where can operation continue and where do they need to stop?
IT business functions tend to be relatively well-prepared for business continuity. However, it is important to assess the supply chain for critical equipment and keep extra inventory if required.
In addition, organisations should keep in mind remote data centre management and cloud options for critical systems as well as enabling remote working programs and rescheduling any non-essential IT work prioritising key applications.
Review pandemic plans to identify any gaps in response
Conduct a preparedness exercise by validating roles and responsibilities as well as recovery requirements and procedures, in order to identify any gaps in the recover capabilities and resource needs.
Following the establishment of a pandemic plan, identify three lessons learned, key observations or improvements for the exercise. After establishing these organisations should priorities the short and long term follow up actions.
Top 10 energy-saving apps
Energy Cost Calculator is fairly simple to use. All you need to do is enter an estimated energy user per hour, and hours per day. Then, the app uses several equations to calculate the cost of an electronic item. The app show users their energy usage per day, week, month and year as well as the carbon emission per year. Best of all, it’s available for free on Google Play.
How big is your carbon footprint? This Android app calculates it, then breaks it down to you in straightforward info bites. All you have to do is input your daily activities and the app will give you your footprint figure. The calculator will also provide tips on how to reduce your number. For extra motivation, the app enables you to share your progress on Facebook.
You will need to install sensors in your house in order to help this app collate relevant information. However, all products are fairly easy to use. Resultant information can be accessed online or via the mobile app. Additionally, data is available in real-time.
This US-only app will help you find local recycling collection points. Using your current location, the app will provide vital details for collection points, such as website, phone number, directions, hours of operation and other materials collected. iRecycle is also highly recommended by iTunes – it has been featured as the app store’s “App of the Week” over five times.
This app pretty much does what it says on the tin. It allows the user to monitor up to 9 separate utility meters including electricity, gas and solar. Additionally, the app displays usage and costs for the latest period, and compares the results to your average consumption. You can also import and export readings ad CSV file’s.
This free app gives you tailored tips for making your daily commute as low emission as possible, from energy-saving routes to local carpooling opportunities. Commute Greener also offers badges, rewards and communing challenges as incentives to become more energy efficient.
Climate change isn’t a game. Except, with JouleBug, it sort of is. The iPhone app turns energy efficiency into an enjoyable challenge. Through the app, energy-saving tips are arranged into achievements, allowing you to scale leader boards and accumulate trophies. At the same time, you’re living more sustainably and saving money.
First and foremost, Project Sunroof is a Google app. Launched two years ago in Google’s home state California, the app allows you to estimate hoe solar might work on your roof. All you have to do is enter your zip code. Yes, that’s right -zip code. Unfortunately, the app is only available in the US, but as it’s Google, it may internationalise soon.
With GoodGuide, you can check an items environmental impact before buying it. The app does this via a bar code scanner. It has a database of more than 70,000 rating in categories ranging from toys to personal care. If you like a product, you can add it a shopping list within the app, and if it you think it’s not sustainable enough, you can note that too.
Our final favourite is highly recommended by review magazines like ecogadger.com, treehugger.com and dailytekk.com. It is designed to allow users to determine which home appliances use the most energy. Additionally, the app includes an alert to let users know if they are exceeding the government’s recommended carbon usage.