ORIMA RESEARCH – COVID-19 RESPONSE
Business Continuity and Risk Management Measures in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Last updated: 26 March 2020
To support Australian Government and State/Territory Government measures to minimise transmission of the virus, ORIMA requires all our staff to immediately inform our HR team and isolate themselves for 14 days if any of the following isolation circumstances advised by the Australian Government apply to them:
- you have COVID-19
- you have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19
- you arrived in Australia after midnight on 15 March 2020.
Any ORIMA staff who are required to isolate themselves (and are medically fit for work) will be provided with the ability to work from home (using their existing laptop or one of ORIMA’s spare laptops) by accessing ORIMA servers via the secure ORIMA Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Any ORIMA staff who are feeling unwell (e.g. fever, sneezing, coughing, lethargic) must stay at home (take personal/ sick leave), see a doctor and only resume work when they are feeling well again.
Suspension of Face-to-Face Data Collection
Due to the relatively high risk of COVID-19 transmission during face-to-face data collection methods such as focus groups and interviews, ORIMA has suspended these methods. Alternative methods such as telephone interviews and online focus groups are being deployed in an effective manner to address research project requirements.
Working from Home Protocols
All ORIMA permanent staff have been set up with the ability to work from home via secure VPN access. Our VPN and remote working procedures have been stress-tested, with 70% of ORIMA staff successfully working from home (with no VPN access issues) on the day of the test.
All ORIMA staff who live with a vulnerable person (e.g. aged relative, relative with a chronic medical condition) or believe that they are in a high-risk group themselves in relation to COVID-19 are working from home.
Any other ORIMA staff who wish to work from home may do so subject to receiving approval from their supervisor that this is practicable from an operational perspective.
Maintaining appropriate information security standards is very important to ORIMA. When working from home, staff are required to adhere to the following policies to uphold our information security:
- Do not print out ORIMA documents – to minimise the risk of unauthorised disclosure of confidential information.
- Consistent with this directive, staff are not permitted to take ORIMA printers home.
- Do not email/ copy ORIMA files to non-ORIMA computers.
- Screen lock your computer or shut it down when leaving your computer unattended.
- Do not take ORIMA hard copy documents home.
Given our ability to work remotely with appropriate information security measures in place, we can complete projects on time and to our usual high quality standards.
Critical Corporate Service Continuity Measures
We have put in place back up/ redundancy arrangements for critical ORIMA corporate services, including IT infrastructure, payroll/accounts and HR services. For each service, there are at least 3 staff who have the capability of maintaining delivery of essential services. Our online surveys are hosted on Microsoft Azure secure servers in Sydney – this is Australia’s most secure and reliable cloud platform, with considerable redundant capacity – the risk of online survey non-availability is therefore very low.
Supplier Business Continuity
ORIMA has consulted with our key suppliers (online panel providers, qualitative research recruiters and telephone survey fieldwork companies). Each supplier has implemented sound risk management strategies relating to COVID-19, thereby minimising the risk of service disruption. However, particularly in the case of call centre telephone survey fieldwork providers, there remains a risk of service interruption should provider staff be infected.
Should one or more of these suppliers experience service disruptions, ORIMA would be able to obtain services from other quality-accredited suppliers. Nevertheless, projects involving telephone survey fieldwork may be subject to delays on account of the pandemic.
In line with Australian Government guidance, ORIMA encourages all staff to take the following personal hygiene measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
- put used tissues straight into the bin
- wash your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet
- use alcohol-based hand sanitisers
- avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces such as benchtops, desks and doorknobs
- clean and disinfect frequently used objects such as mobile phones, keys, wallets and work passes
- increase the amount of fresh air available by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning
- if unwell, avoid contact with others (touching, kissing, hugging, and other intimate contact)
In line with Australian Government guidance, ORIMA encourages all staff to take the following social distancing measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- stay at home unless going out is necessary
- keep 1.5 metres away from others
- avoid physical greetings such as handshaking, hugs and kisses
- use tap and pay instead of cash
- travel at quiet times and avoid crowds
- avoid public gatherings and at risk groups
- hold meetings via video conferencing or phone call
- eat lunch at your desk or outside rather than in the lunch room
- limit food handling and sharing of food in the workplace
- avoid non-essential travel
ORIMA Directors are monitoring COVID-19 developments on a daily basis and stand ready to take further action swiftly should that be required.
We will promptly inform our staff and clients of any relevant developments in our response to the COVID-19 epidemic.