Our response to COVID-19
As the responses to COVID-19 continue to develop, we fully appreciate that our clients, partners and suppliers are facing potentially significant challenges that will require a rapid response.
We were swift to act and protect both our employees’ welfare and our clients’ projects. Our COBRA team first met on 16 March and our Executive Committee continues to meet daily. The whole business transitioned to working from home by 23 March.
I wanted to give you an overview of our approach to these critical and often shared challenges, particularly for those of you for whom we are currently delivering work for. We have a number of initiatives and work streams in place in support of this. We continue to monitor the situation closely ensuring that we are doing the very best for our clients, employees and suppliers.
We made a swift move to working from home thanks to industry leading technology, collaboration tools and processes in place. We are currently undertaking a ‘Return to work’ survey with employees to explore how we might work safely and effectively in the future.
Client communication and support
A weekly email is sent to all clients from me with a business update and useful advice. An extension of this is the Keeping communications out of lockdown sessions we started in April on a range of relevant topics. Keep an eye out for round two of these sessions.
With regards to reporting, we’ve seen guidance on deadlines evolve and have consolidated the latest intel from regulators and advisers to keep you up to date.
Our digital Client Support team continues to operate business as usual. Our operating hours, 7am–7pm UK time, remain the same and all clients will continue to have access to our usual out-of-hours support line.
Employee communication and dialogue
I host a weekly broadcast to all employees blending topics from macro trends and business scenario planning to inspiring work and tips on welfare. Following our move to employee ownership in January this year, our Employee Board hosts weekly drop-in sessions for employees to have a voice and input into our planning.
Welfare and support
From morning yoga, to financial well-being sessions, to drawing and fitness classes for the children of Emperor staff, we are ensuring everyone feels supported in mind, body and soul, despite all being delivered virtually.
Emperor penguins are a sociable bunch. To play together and stay together we’ve started virtual Friday drinks, pub quizzes, coffee breaks and weekly matchups where you are partnered with a colleague at random each week to encourage interaction across teams and offices.
The energy and ideas coming out of the Emperor team at this time have been aggregated in an ideas centre on our intranet for all staff to access and take advantage of – from free online courses for furloughed staff, to tips and tricks shared by our very own specialists.
Our contingency planning
Our own contingency planning is evolving regarding key person and resource risk, dependencies on third-party organisations – such as our main suppliers, including printers and distribution houses – and impact on client service and delivery. As a result, we have drafted a revised Business Continuity Plan, while remaining completely focused on our IT readiness. We have also put in procedures around domestic and international travel, wellness and staff welfare, and client security.
If we can support you in any way during this difficult period, please get in touch at [email protected].
This article was updated on 21 May 2020.