Pandemic Response Protocol: COVID-19

Current Status: Level III

This document serves to help you navigate through the uncertainty to work and life that is the pandemic, Covid-19. As things evolve in Bangalore and in the rest of the country, we will edit, add and change our guidelines. At any point, if you have any questions or concerns, please talk to Rahul or Monica and get the support you need.

Date: 10th March 2020. This is a living document. As updated versions are published, they will be listed below, so you can refer to the most recent version.

What information do you have?

A good start is to look at where your information is coming from and is it verified. For our purposes, let’s look to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare for updates on cases in our state, advisory on travel, simple dos and don’ts, as well as the WHO COVID-19 microsite.

To get an in-depth understanding of what we can do at this stage, and do our bit to mitigate the issue, go through this slightly lengthy read. It’s a good call to flatten the curve while we still can. A lot of the information there is relevant in taking a look at what’s in our control and avoidable scenarios. More information from the CDC in the US.

At the organisation’s level, here are guidelines:

Level I

Effective dates: 1 March to 10 March 2020

  • Visitors are welcome, unless, they’ve been traveling in any of the currently affected areas, such as Italy, Iran, etc. One of our new joiners is working from home for her first 2 weeks as a precautionary measure, because she was in Milan in the middle of February.

  • Travel on work only on a need-to basis, after assessing the safety of the location you’re traveling to.

  • Increased hygiene measures in the office (Ex. sanitisers placed at the reception and in the lunch area, in case it’s needed in a pinch. It doesn’t hold a candle to the hand wash, though.

  • Events in the office - we don’t have anything planned for now. We’ll take a call on future events on a case by case basis.

  • Ask yourself if you need to attend indoor events and make a decision keeping your comfort with indoor spaces, your immunity etc. in mind.

  • Work goes on as usual.

Level II

Effective dates: 11 March - 15 March, 2020

  • The standard decision would be to have conversations with people outside Obvious on email/ phone/hangouts/zoom etc., and avoid a physical in-office meeting. If the Bangalore situation is such that there are increasing cases of affected, we have no way of identifying a geographic control. If there are meetings where visitors have to drop in, run it past your function head and get a go-ahead from them. Before confirming any on-site meetings, ask their travel history and about their health to check if they’re recovering from the ‘flu (the assumption being if they currently have the flu or a cold or fever, they won’t be visiting).

  • All travel in or out of Bangalore on work is on hold. We will verify the MHFW (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) advisory on local/international travel and tweak this as needed.

  • Given that the virus spreads hand to hand, please, no handshakes, no high-fives, no fistbumps and certainly no hugs.

  • Anyone not feeling well can leave office in the middle of the day, and hand over their ongoing work to someone else.

  • All events in office will be postponed indefinitely.

  • Any events people have signed up to attend as part of their work can be cancelled. It is advised that people don’t, at this stage, go to indoor public gatherings, and definitely not on Obvious work.

  • Work from home

    • Anyone who has a compromised immune system, has respiratory disorders, is experiencing symptoms of cold, cough, fever, ‘flu etc. should take leave/ work from home, depending on how ready for work they’re feeling.

    • Anyone with any contact with someone potentially infected by or actually infected by Covid-19 should work from home and monitor their own health daily.

Level III

Effective dates: 16 March onward

The Government of India does not have a code-red framework when a city or region goes into lockdown. We will take a call on this on the basis of what we’re hearing from our networks and what we’re seeing around us. Some of the triggers could be:

  • Someone in the Obvious office or our extended ecosystem is infected/ at risk for infection due to exposure to someone else

  • The neighbourhood of the office experiencing an outbreak

  • Other situations we’re not thinking of yet, but become a necessity to consider at the time

At this stage, we will move to 100% remote working till further updates. In such an instance, repercussions will be

  • All meetings, interviews, and client interactions will happen on zoom/ hangouts.

  • There will be no business travel.

  • All events will continue to be suspended.

  • Onboarding new employees will be done remotely.

Other considerations

  • This is a new situation. We are not yet ready for full-remote functioning indefinitely. We will try and talk to others to find out implications of this

  • Within colleagues, we will have a system of mutual check-ins to ensure each others’ safety. Not to be flippant about it, but, have a system of pairing up “Pandemic Pals”.

Reference: The Lattice protocol document