As our country takes drastic measures to protect its citizens from the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) outbreak, we as a business are also very closely monitoring developments and implementing measures to prioritise the safety of our employees, clients and society as a whole.
This serves to share with you the decisions that we have made thus far to help mitigate the risk of COVID-19 across our businesses.
Work-from-home Strategy: During the course of this week, starting from today, we are implementing the necessary processes in order to enable our staff to work from home in order to minimise individual contact and cross-contamination. Thus, during the course of the next 2 to 3 days and for an unknown period of time at this stage, the majority of our staff will begin working from home rather than from our offices. As a business we have invested a great deal in technology that should allow us to ensure operational business continuity with minimal disruption and inconvenience to our clients and other stakeholders. However, as we have never operated remotely to this extent, we may encounter some initial disruptions and we ask for your patience.
Electronic Meetings and Communications: As such, we have cancelled all planned one-on-one meetings with clients and other stakeholders and thus all meetings and communications, until further notice, will need to be held telephonically or via Teams, WhatsApp Video, Zoom or other video-enabled meeting software. Should you not know how to set up such meetings, our staff will be in a position to set up the meetings for you so that all that you will need to do (provided you have internet connectivity at the time) is click on a link to access the video meeting. In-person meetings will only be held by exception and at the discretion of our staff member and we ask for your patience and understanding should any requests for in-person meetings not be agreed to. Wherever possible, we ask that you utilise email to contact our staff as opposed to contacting them telephonically.
Reception: As per the enforced lockdown our main reception areas are not currently being manned. All telephone numbers that you are accustomed to dialling will continue to work and we will be able to transfer calls to all of our staff members at their respective homes as if they were internal call transfers.
Following World Heath Organisation and ,SA Government guidelines and recommendations: We have also implemented the following preventative measures within all of our business units:
All business travel by air has been cancelled until further notice
We are also strongly encouraging our staff to cease all personal domestic and international travel.
All staff members above the age of 60 have been allowed priority in terms of working from home.
All staff that have travelled to high and medium risk areas in the past 30 days have been required to self-quarantine for 14 days and present themselves for COVID-19 testing (high risk areas) or high intensity screening (medium risk areas) as may be appropriate.
Hand sanitizers are being installed at reception areas of all business units for staff and clients that may, for whatever reason, need to visit the building. We will also be implementing strict sanitizing protocol for all surfaces that are regularly touched.
We have implemented a “no touch” policy and thus our employees have been requested to avoid hand-shakes, as handshakes have been identified as a high risk in respect of spreading the virus. We are also encouraging people to stay at least 2 metres from one another at all times. Thus, should you meet a staff member of ours in person, please do not be offended when they do not shake your hand or stand apart from you. This is both for their protection as well as for yours.
Social distancing is being practiced in all offices and details of such is also present on notices in reception in order for clients to do the same.
We do request that you kindly email as opposed to phoning whenever possible.
Please rest assured that although our business has to take extraordinary steps to protect the health of our employees and our clients, we will endeavour to continue providing the high level of service standards that you are accustomed to. Nonetheless we do ask for your patience during these very trying times, should technology let us down in some instances.
Assuring you of our best attention at all times.
Andrew Duvenage CFP®
NFB Private Wealth Management