The American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine has developed a detailed quarantine exit plan with concrete steps at each stage, President of American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine Andy Hunder told Interfax-Ukraine.
The main asset of any company is its people. Safety and security of employees are extremely important for every diligent employer. That is why the Chamber already has a detailed plan for exiting the lockdown that has been presented to its Board of Directors. Our employees are our strategic priority, thus we focused on soft and gradual return to work, Hunder said.
He said that the starting point for the Chamber will be the fourth phase of lockdown, which was announced by the government.
After that, we will introduce one week of mandatory work from home. We will recommend working from home in the second week. We will start to introduce flexible modes of work in the third week. So only in the fourth week we will be able to talk about returning to office, the Chamber’s president said.
The organization said that timely and transparent communication is critical in this process.
In the first and second weeks, the main steps are daily disinfection of office, procurement and provision of personal protective equipment for employees, reorganization of office to observe a social distance of 1.5-2 meters between workplaces. We will continue observing these requirements. We will also consider the possibility of conducting coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for all our employees, Hunder said.
According to the Chamber’s plan, temperature screening, the introduction of a clean desk policy, work in small groups or work in shifts (not all employees will be in the office at the same time) will be introduced during the third and fourth weeks. Participation in meetings will be possible only if absolutely necessary, in compliance with all safety rules, the Chamber’s president said.
The psychological aspect is also an important component of returning to office, thus the heads of the Chamber’s departments will meet with each member of their team. We hope that under these conditions, returning to office will be as safe and comfortable as possible for each employee, he said.
Hunder said that amid lockdown, the Chamber continues to actively provide information about businesses at the highest level, and also holds events for member companies in the online mode.
For some time after the Chamber’s team exits the lockdown, it is still planned to host events in the online mode, he said.
There is not a single business that, one way or another, would not feel the effect of coronavirus outbreak. Now the team of the Chamber and its member companies are actively preparing to exit lockdown, but the reality we will all return to will be different, he said.
Hunder also said that a month ago, the Chamber launched a video project on Facebook, titled Leadership in Times of Crisis, whose goal is to support businesses in difficult times and show how member companies respond to challenges and support their employees.
Hunder also said every day he holds several video interviews with the CEOs of the Chamber’s member companies. They are all sure of one thing – we have already started to live in a new reality. For each company, this reality is different, as someone adapts their business models, some companies completely work in the online mode, and some, on the contrary, strengthen their positions and provide even more services. Thus, after lockdown everything will change, namely, models, approaches, formats of work. Most importantly is the fact that the values and future strategies will be reassessed, he said.
Many companies are already successfully working remotely.
For example, Twitter whose 5,000 employees have been working from home since early March. Twitter management decided to keep their employees working remotely all the time. This is a new reality in action, the Chamber’s president said.
However, cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, the victory over the COVID-19 pandemic, the recovery of the Ukrainian economy and the preservation of jobs are the top priorities for business, he said.
The Chamber continues to cooperate with the government of Ukraine in these directions. It will also review its detailed strategic priorities and initiate proposals to support the Ukrainian economy, Hunder said.