Find the gaps in your COVID-19 operational planning

Oct 28, 2020

Find the gaps in your COVID-19 operational planning with this new toolIs your business in need of making changes to operations as a result of shifting provincial guidelines? There is a new online tool that can help you spot opportunities for improvement in your pandemic response.

With the evolution of the pandemic and shifting between the province’s directives/phases in different regions, many Ontario businesses have had to make some changes.How can your workplace stay nimble for any eventuality?

“Reflect on what happened during the first wave and apply what you’ve learned,” says WSPS Account Manager Kathy Wrzos. “What worked? What didn’t? What was missed? What can you do differently or better?”

WSPS has developed an easy-to-use operational planning guidance tool (PDF) that will help identify opportunities for improvement in your business’s pandemic response and “understand where your business needs to shift and adapt should you have to modify your operations again,” says Kathy. Complementing the tool is an infographic (PDF) showing pandemic restrictions at a glance based on industry and phase.

How to use the tool

Kathy notes that the guidance tool can also be used by businesses in any phase to evaluate their organizational response and make improvements. This resource is structured to highlight operational considerations for pandemic planning and considerations for evaluation or inclusion in the plan.

The 8-page document outlines a pandemic planning framework that includes

  • planning and preparation
  • administration of the plan
  • the importance of identifying risks and developing policies and procedures
  • considerations or health, safety and wellness
  • the importance of continued and complete communication
  • considerations for implementation

It then lists key items to consider for each part of the framework, including those related to operations and change management. “If there is appropriate operational planning and implementation at various phases of the organization’s pandemic response, the focus on COVID protocol and worker safety can be maintained,” says Kathy.

“A restaurant, for example, may have learned that the demands on their business operations have changed without in-room dining. Perhaps the employer needs to scale back either the menu or change roles within operations or staffing levels to accommodate the business need,” says Kathy. “If the latter, the restaurant needs to ensure staffing levels are not diluted too far; that could impact the workers’ and the public’s health and safety.”

The form helps you identify items you’ve missed as well as additional considerations within those items. It also provides more detailed guidance on areas such as your emergency response system and communications strategy.

The tool doesn’t list every possible consideration, says Kathy. “Instead, the intent is to get you thinking about evaluating your pandemic response and continual improvement.”

Who should apply the tool in your workplace?

The pandemic team that you established in your plan, which represents different roles within the workplace, is in the best position to improve the pandemic response, individually and collectively, says Kathy. For example, HR and operations could review staffing requirements against operational need, while the health and safety manager/coordinator reviews COVID protocol development and implementation.

How WSPS can help

  1. Download the tool, Operational Considerations for Pandemic Planning (PDF) and infographic, Phase Requirements by Sector or Business Type (PDF).
  2. Access WSPS consultants who can
    • help you develop or improve your COVID-19 pandemic plan
    • build a COVID-19 response protocol
    • complete a COVID-19 transmission risk assessment
    • complete a violence risk assessment - violence may have potentially increased in a variety of workplaces
    • WHMIS training for any new chemical or products introduced for COVID-19 cleaning and sanitization

      Find out more by calling our Duty Consultant, available Monday to Friday, 8:30-4:30: 1-877-494-WSPS (9777).
  3. Visit WSPS’ COVID-19 Hub, which offers regularly updated information and tools, including