We have prudently been following reports and developments with regard to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) since the early stages, not least to the point of the declaration of a State of Emergency by His Excellency President Hage G. Geingob, on 17 March 2020.
At a time when governments and business leaders across the globe and locally seem to have been overtaken by fear and taking consequent frantic actions, we cannot help but be reminded of the wise words of Warren Buffet who cautions astute investors not to be fearful along with everyone else. Though arguments can be made about drawing any parallels, ours is to be desirous about ensuring not to take any actions that defy the basic facts and information about the virus and concomitant logic and sober judgement.
From an occupational health point of view and for the general health concern for our valued staff and clients and further in response to the national rally to assist in preventing possible spread of the virus, we have taken various steps some of which we will share with you as valued stakeholder.
Safeguarding the health of our staff
Since COVID -19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) we have been sharing relevant information with our staff to create repeated awareness such as; how the virus is transmitted, the symptomatic nature of disease and various preventative measures etc.
We have particularly taken the following measures regarding personal and office hygiene:
Personal & office hygiene
- Sanitising sprays have been set up at our office entrances and hand sanitisers have been made available within close proximity to all work stations.
- Our staff is prompted to ensure that they thoroughly and regularly wash/or sanitise hands.
- The company has called off all company sponsored social events as well as mass client engagement functions.
- The company will try to keep visits from outside to a minimum.
- Designated surfaces are being cleaned/wiped off regularly.
- Our frontline staff have been provided additional measures of caution in dealing with the limited number of visits to our office
- We have sensitised our staff to observe WHO guidelines regarding proximity to colleagues and staff are requested to observe this in general and with life events such as staff birthdays.
- Staff is advised to consider the wellbeing of others and practice safe behaviour when coughing or sneezing.
- Internal group meetings are called off and discussions facilitated via emails and heads of departments.
Business continuity measures
- We have updated our risk management matrix with new risks identified;
- We have tested and have prepared our disaster management facilities for potential deployment in a severe case scenario (office lock down scenario);
- We have identified critical operations which have to be kept up and running even with an office lock down scenario. Some among these are:
- Ongoing payments of pensions to retirees and dependent survivors,
- Payment of insurance premiums to maintain cover and third party obligations, etc.
- We have identified staff to carry out the critical operations and have enabled remote access to our systems;
- We have allowed staff who are particularly vulnerable and some staff with auxiliary functions to work from home via remote access.
In the unfortunate event of any of our staff experiencing symptoms, we advised;
- Staff to stay at home and self-isolate,
- Take necessary medication to boost their immune system,
- Contact their doctor immediately (from home) to explain symptoms and take necessary advice,
- Should a staff member test positive, we require that they act in compliance and in the interest of fellow citizens by adhering to relevant procedures per guidelines provided by Ministry of Health and Social Services until full recovery.
Access to RFS office and ongoing provision of services
We encourage all our clients and stakeholders not to visit our office, but to contact us by telephone or via email.
However, we will attend to the limited number of persons that may visit our office, whilst observing preventative measures.
All such visitors will be required to provide us with their details in case there is a need to trace a visitor.
We do not believe there are any warranted reasons to consider a closing down of the office at present, but as an owner managed business, we will follow national developments on a daily basis and we are able to take and communicate any decisions in time.
Emergency contact numbers and emails in the event of a potential lock down of office will be communicated at that stage.
This article summarises the understanding, observation and notes of the author and lays no claim on accuracy, correctness or completeness. Retirement Fund Solutions Namibia (Pty) Ltd does not accept any liability for the content of this contribution and no decision should be taken on the basis of the information contained herein before having confirmed the detail with the relevant party. Any views expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily those of Retirement Fund Solutions.