The Current Landscape | Radical Change
We are experiencing a once in a lifetime crisis which is now permanently changing the future landscape for many. Never before have so many people experienced resilience on this personal level while the globe is in survival mode. Second spikes are creating confusion, fear and panic. Fears that civil unrest will continue, following the Covid-19 pandemic are supported by historical evidence.
In a paper published in the journal ‘Peace Economics’, Peace Science and Public Policy, Professor Massimo Morelli and Roberto Censolo explored protests and civil unrest surrounding 57 historic epidemic episodes, spanning from the Black Death (1346 to 1353) to the Spanish Flu (1919 to 1920). They found that post epidemic there is typically a sharp increase in social instability. While we have already witnessed clashes, demonstrations and riots, the research indicates that there may be further significant global unrest once the pandemic is over.
Morelli and Censolo, from the University of Ferrara state; “Overall, the historical evidence shows that the epidemics display a potential unsettling effect on civil society along three dimensions.”
• First, the implemented policy measures tend to conflict with the interest of people, generating dangerous friction between society and institutions.
• Second, to the extent that epidemics impact differently on society in terms of mortality and economic welfare, it may exacerbate inequality.
• Third, the psychological shock can induce irrational narratives on the causes and the spread of the disease, which may result in social or racial discrimination and even xenophobia.
We have experienced a sharp increase in attacks over conspiracy theories. Since April, unidentified attackers have damaged or destroyed over 75 mobile phone towers across the United Kingdom. Police have linked these attacks to an online conspiracy theory propagated on several blogs that links the spread of the COVID-19 virus to 5G signals. As well as targeting infrastructure, some 40 telecoms engineers have been attacked or threatened, with one being hospitalised by a stabbing attack.
Demonstrations in London over the use of facemasks and ‘track and trace’ are increasingly aimed towards government conspiracy to control populations. Backed by independent scientists’ people are growing wary and concerned that ‘all is not what it seems’ with Covid-19. The number of violent demonstrations continued to rise around the world, reflected in outbreaks of social unrest in Chile and Hong Kong. While the level of social unrest has fallen in the first half of 2020, partly as a result of government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, the possibility of future violence remains high.
Crime is continuing to rise. Across the UK we have seen spikes, as regular drug users lose jobs or struggle with limited employment opportunities. Unable to pay for drugs, many dependent users may be compelled to resort to theft from people and property in order to pay for the product. Depression and anxiety are likely to enhance this as more jobs are lost with many turning to the dark side to survive or hide. As more damage is done and economies collapse, the risk of increased tensions is now becoming reality.
The impact on business and home can be significant during times of social unrest, as we have seen across America in the last few months. While most protests have been peaceful, some have escalated into rioting, vandalism and looting. Exceptional scenes across much of the USA, more typically seen in a Wild West movie, show people patrolling their streets with a frightening array of weapons to protect their own neighbourhoods (so they believe).
DUTY OF CARE | PREPAREDNESS
As business owners, the world economy is dependent on us to adapt and overcome this challenge. Whatever is on the horizon we need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get back to business. Creating a safe working environment can help encourage people back to work and provide employees with confidence that companies are adopting appropriate measures.
There is currently a lack of readily available state testing. Implementing rapid screening for COVID-19 will save time and money compared to laboratory screening. This will help control the spread of the virus by identifying infection rapidly and accurately. Protectfully’s Antigen rapid test identifies COVID-19 antigen present in a swab sample and gives a qualitative yes/no result within 15 minutes. Administered privately and as regularly as required, test kits are helping many companies with business continuity whilst providing Duty of Care to employees and customers.
Fever detections systems are a great way to monitor footfall, with many fixed permanent, mobile and handheld solutions available, ranging from a high range for large footfalls to lower range options for offices and gyms. Air filtration systems can be installed and provide additional health benefits. Additionally, greater access control, regular deep cleans, reception and meeting barriers and working bubbles can help build a multi-defence environment within a sensible budget.
Threat intelligence and effective communication can help maintain business continuity during uncertainty. Reliable, fact-checked data can help employers identify trends through indicators and warnings, enabling you to respond accordingly. At Priavo we monitor information from multiple sources and report on all incidents which may have an impact on your people or business activities. Experienced analysts process information into intelligence through collation, evaluation, analysis, integration and finally interpretation. Giving you complete control over the dissemination of authentic intelligence. Paramount to keeping calm and carrying on.
REMOTE WORKING | COMMUNICATION
Overnight, remote working went from being a mark of flexibility in the workplace to a business necessity. Faced with few alternatives, organisations began working remotely to endure the crisis. While most organisations had just a few days or weeks, at most, to move employees’ home at the onset of COVID-19, leaders now must take care to ensure the right work-from-home strategies are in place for maintaining a positive, productive approach for months and possibly years to come.
It is widely publicised that the shift to remote working has led to an increase in employee loneliness and isolation – often exasperated by growing concerns around social instability. If the physical presence of an office-based community is no longer available, regular check-ins, welfare updates and general team comradeship all need due consideration.
Effective communication with all employees is essential for companies to operate successfully, ensure business continuity, disseminate authentic intelligence and keep an eye on the pulse of the organisation globally. Incident management and communication platforms can provide clear lines of communications and reporting to a remote workforce. In addition to critical event management, technology is now being adopted very successfully to strengthen team communications, increase responsiveness, fine-tune planning, monitor employee wellbeing and drive performance.
We have all quickly adapted our way of working with the challenges that COVID-19 has posed. The whole world is now battling with an issue of immense scale it is important that we all continue to communicate and look out for each other.
Rebuilding the economy through business continuity is a priority for the foreseeable future. One of the consequences of the pandemic is that people will work in different ways. Technology and how we use it to drive productivity will facilitate this. There are now fundamental changes in the way businesses operate, predominantly home working. But at the same time, there are many employees who want to get back into a safe and secure office environment.
Risk management is an increasingly important consideration for all companies with national and international operations. Priavo Security works closely with clients to identify and mitigate risks and maintain a safe environment enabling continuity during pandemics, social unrest, natural hazards and other threats we face. Global cohesion and collaboration will help us to fight the uncertainties and rebuild our future.