As governments and authorities around Australia continue to relax social and operating restrictions, the onus has shifted to business owners and management to ensure compliance with what continues to be described as the ‘new normal’.
Such is the precarious nature of COVID-19 that any man or woman of virtually any age is capable, even without knowing it, of upsetting the proverbial apple cart and causing a new outbreak. With trust from authority comes responsibility and all Australians have been firmly engrained with the idea that they must take heightened care in their everyday movements.
Building on our new nature of extra personal care, it is possible for business owners to foster and nurture a new culture of safety and hygiene from frontline staff all the way to the highest level of management. In fact, the global shockwave that was the pandemic has now firmly instilled these two qualities – safety and hygiene – as key components in attracting customers and building brand reputation. This will never be more pertinent than for the hospitality sector, recently ranked as one of the most dangerous for person-to-person contact, alongside mining and construction.
In this newly-nervous society, businesses cannot afford any complacency, whether deliberate or accidental, in order to ensure their workplace can return to normal. Hotels and all of their public facilities -including restaurants, bars, cafes, fitness centres, swimming pools, lounges and all other guest facilities – must assess the need for technology to help it implement new practices and protocols to ensure it stays ahead of the now-flattened curve.
One such solution on the market already doing this for the hospitality sector is iAuditor from SafetyCulture, which already counts companies such as Accor and Hilton among its client base. The 13-year business was founded in Townsville but now calls Sydney its home, with offices in Manila, Kansas City and Manchester. The company began predominantly health and safety advice to the construction and mining industries, before making its way to hospitality and accommodation.
Far from a one-size-fits-all checklist tool, iAuditor is fully customised by each property or group taking on the solution, taking on both a venue’s existing compliance, safety and hygiene tasks and adding, if necessary, many more mandated by federal and state health authorities from countries all over the world. Guidelines are also provided by the World Health Organisation to ensure a holistic approach to workplace safety is available, all of which have been pre-digitised into iAuditor.
Once set up with as many licences as needed, iAuditor works by prompting team members and management with frequent and simple tasks that must be completed to ensure a venue remains compliant and all health and safety requirements continue to be met. These are then actioned and reported via the app, which keeps records for future auditing. Images and descriptions can be taken both in writing and audible of non-compliant issues requiring follow-up to ensure escalation to the appropriate management can be taken.
SafetyCulture Chief Operating Officer, Alistair Venn, said the whole point of iAuditor was that you can get many people in your company to conduct much more frequent checks, something that is so critical in response to COVID-19. Checks can be set up to run every hour, every three hours, each day or as often as each individual business requires.
“it’s such a fast moving risk. Your employees or your customers wouldn’t feel particularly safe if you said ‘Oh, don’t worry. We had an auditor come around last month, they did a check and everything was fine.’
“You would feel much more comfortable knowing that there was a tracker that said all tables had been wiped down every hour for the past three days”
The iAuditor app has been designed to be user-friendly and intuitive, with Venn saying that if you can use Facebook, you can use iAuditor.
“You’re literally going through these checks, picking yes or no and taking photos. If something is wrong, adding a short description, it’s even got a voice memo function so you can talk to it quickly if you think something doesn’t look right, and that will notify the right people.”
Available as a monthly subscription, iAuditor can be downloaded and operated with limited functionality for free, with a more comprehensive version available for $19 per month, with custom plans able to be designed for larger companies or chain venue operators.
Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria brand is one such hospitality brand already working with iAuditor for its health and safety checks. Check out how the system works in the video below.