The state of Florida is gradually reopening after weeks of self-isolation and stay at home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, I will return to my office today, following two months of commandeering the family room and generally annoying my wife. The goal here, of course, is to return to some sense of normalcy while continuing to take steps that will protect ourselves and the most vulnerable amongst us.
Following state guidelines, we are reopening in gradual steps. I will be in the office next week along with just one of my associates. As it happens, he was the sole occupant remaining at our offices the last two months. It seems his wife, who works for a Sarasota area TPA, was also sent home to work, and she wouldn't let him have their family room. Just as well. Having one person remain to keep an eye on things turned out to be a benefit in this endeavor.
The week after next, we will add to the office roster, and the week following that all of our Sarasota based employees will have returned to the workplace. Our traditionally remote employees, based in North Carolina and Texas, may remain in their homes. That just seemed reasonable to me, and after all, I am nothing if not reasonable.
Also in accordance with state recommendations, certain safety procedures will be followed in the workplace. All persons entering our facility will be subject to temperature monitoring. Anyone with a temperature greater than 99.9 degrees will be hermetically sealed in plastic and shipped to a lab for further testing. Just kidding, of course. We will just send their sick, virus infected fannies home. There is one potential problem with this plan. We only have a rectal thermometer.
This is going to be awkward. On the positive side, we will really be striving for accuracy.
From a purely operational perspective, the COVID crisis represented a generally positive outcome for my company. We have had a Pandemic Response Plan in place for some time, as part of our overall Business Continuity Plan (BCP). With the exception of one major hurricane in 2017, elements of our BCP have never really been tested. That is certainly not the case now.
And to date, the plan appears to have passed with flying colors. The immediate and unexpected shift to a virtual environment had little or no impact on operations. Our revenue was not affected, everyone continued working, and more importantly, everyone stayed fully on the payroll. As a businessman I am concerned about what lies ahead, as some of our customers have not been as fortunate, and the workers' compensation industry faces uncertain challenges going forward. Still, I count myself among the very fortunate, as so many people have been hurt the last few months.
I am thankful as well for great associates who have done an excellent job during a stressful time, and for the technology that aided us all. Frankly, if it wasn't for VOIP phones that work from any router and Zoom teleconferencing, this might have been a different story entirely. I am sure that we are not the only ones who benefitted from that reality.
Thank God our Pandemic Response Plan worked as intended. If we had just bought a different thermometer, it would have been damn near perfect.
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Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
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