It is clear we are all going to have to live with the coronavirus and our lives will not return to normal soon. In fact, normal might not return at all. However, even with the threat of a secondary peak the world of commerce must get going again. This means businesses will need to adapt their working practices to manage the threats posed by the disease. Topwood has remained open for business during the shutdown. As a provider of document storage, scanning and shredding services to essential service providers like the NHS, MOD, MOJ as well as businesses in key sectors including utilities, healthcare and food production our operations never ceased.
Topwood are specialists in data security and consequently are used to risk management programmes. With data security, an awareness of a threat is key to addressing the risks of a data breach. The basis for any data security policy is to train staff to make them aware how they can reduce the risks – for example clear desk policies, changing passwords etc. To combat COVID-19 Topwood have created an awareness for the need for rigorous bio security measures (such as hand washing guidance), the correct issue and use of PPE and the requirement of reduced personal interaction will lower the risk of transmission.
How can we stay safe and operational?
Topwood has at all times followed the safe working guidelines set out by the government.
Where possible employees are:
- Working from home.
- Staff with close family connections who work in high risk sectors (NHS, HM prison service etc.) have not come into work
- Employees who have vulnerable dependents living within their household have not come to the workplace.
At Topwood there is 60,000 sq. ft. of document storage space so staff can work in a safely dispersed manner abiding by physical distancing advice. Simple measures implemented have eased pinch points – such as the rotation of breaks and encouraging staff taking breaks all helps to reduce the risk of transmission. With a lowered workload generally there is less pressure for our drivers to interchange vehicles and the double manning shred crews is restricted.
A simple way we have reduced social interaction but continued to service customers is through the conversion of documents from paper to data. Our scan on demand service means customers have direct access to stored paper documents without the need for the physical file.
In the case of a solicitor a fee earner can request a file though the normal channel (phone, email or order online) and once picked from secure storage and scanned the requester is sent a link and password to download from the online portal. In the case where files are required for delivery a revised delivery schedule has been put in place to reduce the number of interactions. In some cases customers have been happy for files to be left in a secure reception and for them to be distributed internally by themselves to complete a no contact delivery or collection.
In the case of regular shredding services Topwood can provide lockable containers such as wheelie bins that can be placed outside prior to the visit. With CCTV in the shred trucks there is clear evidence that all shredding is complete and so “no signature required” has become acceptable.
Containers such as wheelie bins can be left outside which reduces the need for staff to interact within the workplace. In some cases customers have been able to bring the contents of the consoles down to a central point to save our shredding staff ‘walking the floor’.
In the case of bulk shredding it is easy for customers to bring pallets of documents and archiving to the shred trucks with minimal interaction – instead of signatures we have used smartphones to record completion.
The above are all examples or measures Topwood have taken to continue working whilst tackling the threat posed by COVID-19.