Covid-19 - Mind Your Health, Wellbeing and Finances

The past few weeks have changed our lives and the way we used to do things. COVID-19 and the current lockdown affected our economic, physical and mental well-being.

It has been a difficult time for all of us and some are coping with the new unprecedented situation better than others. We are in this together and let’s not forget about others. There are many tools and websites, which could help each of us in dealing with different aspects of the Coronavirus impact on our lives.

  1. CONNECT with friends and family using technology
  2. DISCONNECT from fake news and excessive information
  3. PLAN a routine and find time to unwind
  4. EXERCISE and sleep well
  5. Be COMPASSIONATE and think of others
  6. STOP, take a deep breath and be positive

Find out more about the COVID-19 through the following website, which offers free e-learning short courses: https://www.highfieldelearning.com/covid-19

Here are some tools and resources that may be useful to you at this difficult time.

We have a confidential and anonymous Employee Assistance Program provided by Wellbeing. It offers support, advice, counselling and signposting on a range of issues and is accessible 24 hours a day either online or via telephone. Visit www.employeeassistance.org.uk

To enter the Employee Assistance Online website, you will need to use the access code: corps

Other Resources Include:

Alcohol Advice
https://alcoholchange.org.uk/help-and-support/get-help-now/coronavirus-information-and-advice-hub

Anger Management
https://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships-communication/anger-management.htm

Support for Carers
https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-covid-19

Domestic Abuse
(support for male victims) – https://mensadviceline.org.uk/
(support for all) – https://www.refuge.org.uk/covid19-survivor-tips/

Depression and Anxiety
https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/support-and-information/if-youre-having-difficult-time/if-youre-worried-about-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak/
https://www.thecalmzone.net/2020/03/a-little-help-to-get-you-through-these-weird-times/

Gambling
https://www.gamcare.org.uk/gambling-impacts/coronavirus-looking-after-your-mental-wellbeing/?cn-reloaded=1

Grief and Bereavement
https://www.cruse.org.uk/get-help/coronavirus-dealing-bereavement-and-grief

Support for Single Parents
https://www.gingerbread.org.uk/coronavirus

Mental Health and Wellbeing
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus
https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/

Financial Support
https://www.uk.mercer.com/our-thinking/dealing-with-the-impact-covid19/financial-wellbeing-employee-toolkit.html
https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/employment-and-benefits-support/
https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/categories/coronavirus
https://www.stepchange.org/debt-info/debt-and-coronavirus.aspx
https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/policy/policy-research-topics/welfare-policy-research-surveys-and-consultation-responses/welfare-policy-research/financial-support-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-a-proposal-for-a-crisis-minimum-income/
https://workingfamilies.org.uk/articles/coronavirus-support/
https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/mortgages-coronavirus-consumers

or contact you mortgage lender for further information on the options available to you.

We’ve set up a dedicated coronavirus support team to answer any questions about the impact of coronavirus on your business. Please contact us on covid19@corpssecurity.co.uk and we’ll do our best to help.

Security Technology And The Pandemic - A Two-Stage Process

There are two distinct stages to the role of technology in the security response to the pandemic. The first stage is the impact of new technology during lockdown and the second stage is post-lockdown, when restrictions are eased. That was the message from Mike Bluestone, director of Corps Security, speaking last week at a webinar focusing on how technology is helping or hindering security.

“In the first stage we’ve used a combination of remote monitoring, mobile patrols and the presence of static guarding teams to help to mitigate against the impact of increased levels of organised, or opportunist crime, and anti-social, behaviour” he said. “This is vital given that the police are under pressure, and suffering their own depleted ranks due to contagion.” The use of portable devices by security personnel is another tool to enable real-time reporting of incidents, and ensure appropriate alerts, and where appropriate, police and other blue light responses. He also said there was a need to factor in the risk of cyber-attacks. Therefore in vacated buildings, the integrity of server rooms, anti-flood protection, air-con/cooling durability is of equal importance to the quality of firewalls, virus tracking software, and maintaining strong SOPs and password protection, he said.

But Bluestone’s was equally focused on the second phase, once lockdown restrictions were lifted. “There will be no ‘flick of a switch’ scenario when we go from what is effectively a state of house-arrest to total freedom,” he said. “The security industry will play a key role in supporting businesses to reopen, particularly through the use of thermal imaging cameras to check for abnormal human temperatures and on overseeing effective access control while supporting social distancing.”

The webinar, which was chaired by Martin Gill, also heard from Australia-based Chris Cubbage, director and executive editor, My Security Media Pty,  Mark Folmer, in Canada, vice president of TrackTik; and Monica Verma from Norway, board member, CSA Norway and Chief Information Security Office. If you missed it, simply click on the link below to view the recording.

>> Webinar – “How Are Technologies Helping And Hindering Security?”

 

We’ve set up a dedicated coronavirus support team to answer any questions about the impact of coronavirus on your business. Please contact us on covid19@corpssecurity.co.uk and we’ll do our best to help.

Supporting Security Staff During The Pandemic

The Government’s decision to classify SIA licence-holding security professionals as critical workers has meant that in many cases security officers are the last people standing in a building. Overall the Coronavirus outbreak has meant significant change for our front-line security officers.

In some instances, their shift patterns have changed where we’re required to provide day cover to maintain a presence in a largely empty building, whereas before it was mainly nights and weekends. Some relief officers are now mobile, serving a number of different sites where it’s safe to do so, whereas before many were based in just one building. Others are supporting critical infrastructure sites and are working longer shifts. Our colleagues at our remote monitoring centre in Glasgow are busier than ever as many clients turn to technology to protect empty premises rather than have an officer on site.  At the same time, our officers are playing a vital role in supporting the Police service, which is already stretched.

Meanwhile, like many others on the front line, some of our officers are unwell, or self-isolating because a member of their family has the virus. Many have caring responsibilities in their household to work around. In our offices, our people are busy managing constantly-changing customer needs with our security officer’s constantly-changing availability. It’s a tricky balancing act for everyone.

The key to making it work – and ensuring that people remain engaged, motivated and healthy – is good communication. Usually that would be through regular site visits, but obviously that’s not an option now. Instead, we’re using our colleague portal, emails, phone and video calls, letters and other channels to share advice so that they feel confident in their role and supported.

Many of our officers are faced with dealing with people who are showing symptoms of Covid19, so we’ve provided step-by-step advice on how to support those customers while also protecting themselves. Giving them the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is obviously a key part of that, as well as instructions on how to use it properly. Public transport has been reduced in some areas, and helping colleagues plan their journeys, which are often at anti-social hours, is key, with our central scheduling department and local management teams supporting them with route planning. Our previous approach to getting people to site in an emergency – known as lift to shift – isn’t appropriate in these circumstances so we’re adopting new ways of working.

Regular one-to-one check-ins with our security officers is also important. Their line manager will know them better than anyone and there’s already a trusted relationship in place. Making sure they’re feeling well, both mentally and physically, and taking the time to recharge is essential. We’re long-term supporters of Combat Stress and have a strong understanding of how people can be affected mentally by being on the front line and how mental wellbeing is important.

Overall we’re listening to what our security officers need – they’re on the front line of this outbreak.  The next few weeks and months are challenging times for us all. By listening to our front-line teams, we can ensure they provide the best possible care to our customers while also looking after themselves.

We’ve set up a dedicated coronavirus support team to answer any questions about the impact of coronavirus on your business. Please contact us on covid19@corpssecurity.co.uk and we’ll do our best to help.

How is Technology Helping and Hindering Security

To what extent is technology offering new opportunities for better security and where is it floundering?

How are these technologies interacting with people? After the Coronavirus crisis will there be more or less interest in technology? Those are just some of the questions that will be debated by Mike Bluestone from Corps Security and other panellists at an upcoming webinar at 3.30pm on Thursday 23 April.

>> Register Here

The thought leadership webinar, run by the OSPAs, Perpetuity Research and TECAs, will also explore what we are learning about security technologies as the pandemic unfolds; to what extent offenders are exploiting technology and where are the opportunities for security technologies?

Sign up for your free place here.

We’ve set up a dedicated coronavirus support team to answer any questions about the impact of coronavirus on your business. Please contact us on covid19@corpssecurity.co.uk and we’ll do our best to help.

Securing the future - the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the security sector

Walk through any of our major cities and they are almost unrecognisable from just a month ago. Deserted streets, shuttered shops, closed-down buildings, empty pubs and restaurants. Our built environment has been completely transformed by the current Government lockdown.

And that has had an inevitable impact on people looking after those buildings. It’s meant changes for everyone from cleaning operatives and maintenance engineers to catering staff and, of course, security officers. Some organisations have closed down their buildings entirely while others are operating a skeleton staff.  Meanwhile those who are considered part of the national infrastructure – food shops, financial services, utilities, distribution centres, police stations and of course hospitals – are often busier than ever but operating in a different way.

For us, it’s meant supporting our clients differently. Sometimes that’s been helping them to close down their building securely and providing a skeleton security cover while it’s vacant to protect critical assets. That’s been the case with some museums and major performing arts venues.  Elsewhere, reception staff have been furloughed in some instances and our security officers are now providing day cover to maintain a presence in a largely empty building, whereas before it was mainly nights and weekends. Other organisations have turned to technology to provide security through our remote monitoring centre in Glasgow, or adopting mobile patrols to replace on-site officers.

We always work incredibly closely with the Police Service, but at a time like this, with policing stretched like never before, we’re working even closer to support them. That will continue as we face different challenges as this pandemic develops.

Overall the security sector has been less affected by Covid-19 than other soft services like catering and cleaning as it’s seen as an essential service – as demonstrated by the Government’s decision to classify licence-holding security professionals as critical workers. But we remain a people-based organisation and protecting and supporting our on-site teams is our main priority. Some of our people are ill, or self-isolating, and we need to support them back to good health, while also working to protect our teams on-site who are still working. Clients’ needs are changing day by day,  so it’s a tricky balancing act to ensure we have the right resources where they need to be.

One thing is certain, one day these empty buidings and streets will be buzzing with people again, and security officers – and other essential workers – will be the only ones to remember a time when they lay silent.

We’ve set up a dedicated coronavirus support team to answer any questions about the impact of coronavirus on your business. Please contact us on covid19@corpssecurity.co.uk and we’ll do our best to help.

Security For Unoccupied Buildings - Staying Safe In Tough Times

Among the long list of things for businesses to address in a pandemic is how to ensure unoccupied properties stay secure and protected without the usual procedures in place. With well managed security procedures, this need not weigh on anyone’s mind.

Start with the basics; it is surprisingly easy for the finer details to be forgotten when the mind is under pressure. Every site should be checked over before being closed down for this indefinite period. Check locks on windows and doors. Taps mustn’t be left running, or even dripping, and high voltage equipment should be unplugged. Some systems may need to be left running. Server rooms must be maintained and kept cool so thermostats and cooling systems must be checked. Any maintenance  issues need to be sorted out before the building is left unoccupied to minimize risks of flooding, fire, or any other accident. That said, there is always a chance of the unexpected. Take standard flood protection such as placing any valuable equipment on basement or ground level floors onto pedestals.

Security systems, likewise, will need to be checked. Alarms and cameras all need to be in good working order and their systems linked to any remote monitoring centres that the organization works with. This offers 24/7 supervision but that alone is limited if security protocols are not up to date and security officers don’t have current information about who to contact in the case of an incident. Work closely with your security professionals to ensure all appropriate systems are in place.

Organisations can make themselves less of a target by removing any high value assets from the premises. Any portable devices certainly fall into this category but so does anything that would make access to valuables easier such as keys, data that could risk a cybersecurity breach and hard-copy data.  Two-way radio units that may have a counterpart still active on another site must be removed but returned as soon as the site is in use again.

Once you have made the building suitable to be left unoccupied, additional security procedures will be put in place. In the ideal situation, on-lookers will believe that the building is still occupied. This might mean leaving on lights in strategic places and ensuring the exterior remains well maintained for the entire duration it is empty. Good exterior lighting can be as effective a deterrent as CCTV cameras so it is well worth investing in. Liveried vehicles and mobile security teams are not only important elements of security but also act as deterrents. An integrated security solution which utilises officers, expertise, and technology will offer security through this challenging period. Organisations need to keep open strong communication networks with their security teams. These teams can offer many years of experience, ultimately offering the peace of mind that we all need in this stressful time.

This document is not a policy but gives advice on a number of frequently-asked-questions in relation to the Coronavirus outbreak. However, due to the changing nature of the ongoing situation the advice we share concerning Coronavirus and other related to health hygiene matters may change. Please check regularly the Safety Bulletins tab on our Colleagues’ Portal for any updates related to this matter.

If you have any other questions that are not answered below or on the portal, please raise them with your line manager or our HR Department on hrdepartment@corpssecurity.co.uk

Please ensure you update your telephone and email contact details as well as your next of kin details with your line manager or HR Department.

Where can I get information about COVID-19?

The Safety Bulletins tab on our Colleague Portal. There is also lots of information regarding the outbreak of COVID-19 available online:

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus

What are the most common symptoms of COVID – 19?

The most common symptoms of coronavirus are recent onset of:

  • new continuous cough (this means you have started coughing repeatedly)

and/or

  • high temperature (you feel hot to touch on your chest or back).

For more information go to NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms-and-what-to-do/

You can check if you have Coronavirus symptoms by using the following NHS online service: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19

How to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus?

Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading and the current advise from government is to stay at home. You should only leave the house for 1 of the 4 below reasons:

  • shopping for basic necessities, as infrequent as possible, i.e. food & medicine;
  • one form of exercise a day, alone or with members of your household, i.e. running, walking, cycling;
  • any medical need, or to provide cade or to help a vulnerable person;
  • traveling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

What is social distancing?

It is advised to take social distancing measures to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the transmission of Coronavirus. People from the below group in particularly have been advised by the government to take into consideration social distancing measures like self-isolation and avoiding public places.

  • aged 70 or over (regardless of medical conditions)
  • those who are pregnant;
  • those with an underlying health condition (*more information in COVID-19 FAQ Appendix document)

More information about social distancing can be found in Appendix 2 or on the following website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

What I need to do if I am self-isolating?

You should follow the Company’s normal absence reporting procedures. In addition, if you are self-isolating you must provide an isolation note, which can be obtained by using the following NHS online service: https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/

You must send copy of the isolation note to your Line Manager, in the first instance to ensure correct wages are paid.

What is the meaning of shielding measures and who is advised to follow them?

The government has advised that those people who are at very high risk of severe illness from Coronavirus should follow shielding measures. This group of people are referred to as an extremely vulnerable group. The NHS in England will be directly contacting people from that group to provide further advice.

You can find the list of condition on our COVID-19 Appendix 2 or in the following website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Can I still work if I am in the extremely vulnerable group and received letter from NHS advising me to follow shielding measures for 12 months?

As your employer the company has a duty of care towards you which includes ensuring you are not exposed to an unacceptable risk. If you are in the extremely vulnerable group then it is too risky for you to attend work. You would then be entitled to be furloughed from work and entitled to receive 80% of normal wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. This arrangement will last until 1 June 2020 but may be extended thereafter.

Am I entitled to pay 80% through the government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

The scheme is only applicable to those employees who could otherwise lose their job because of the current crisis related to outbreak of Coronavirus. The scheme applies to employees who have been asked by the employer to stop working, but who are being kept on the pay roll, otherwise known as ‘furloughed workers’. HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month.

The scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March and is initially open for 3 months, but will be extended if necessary.

Those employees who are shielding in line with the public health guidance and receive a letter from NHS confirming they are in the extremely vulnerable group, should contact their Line Manager immediately as they will be eligible to a furlough leave.

More information can be found on the following website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Can I volunteer to be place on furlough leave?

No, currently the Company do not accept application for volunteer furlough leave under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. If this advice changes we will contact all employees accordingly.

I have not received a letter of authority to travel to and from work, who shall I contact?

Please contact HRDepartment@corpssecurity.co.uk and they will send you copy of this letter.