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COVID Safe businesses: Protecting businesses, employees and the customer


As NSW began to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the NSW Government Digital Channels team built a COVID-19 section on nsw.gov.au to publish information from all NSW Government agencies in one location.  

The problem 

At the start of the pandemic, community concern about the impact on jobs and businesses was high. The community wanted to see employees protected, people kept in work, and financial assistance for anyone affected.

Information about jobs and businesses was divided between state and federal governments, and between departments within those tiers. Public Health Orders and restrictions around how businesses could operate were announced. The information was rapidly changing, sometimes from day to day.

Finding accurate, up-to-date information online in this environment was challenging for users. If businesses didn’t follow the rules, they risked COVID-19 infections, penalties for breaching orders, and losing customers. 

Our solution  

With these insights in mind, as well as customer feedback received on nsw.gov.au, the COVID-19 Business team set objectives to help our business users:

  • educate NSW businesses on how to keep their workplaces, workers and customers safe during COVID-19.  
  • increase awareness of the NSW Government services and initiatives available to support their NSW businesses.  

We worked with NSW Health, SafeWork NSW and other NSW Government subject matter experts to develop a comprehensive set of guidelines tailored by industry for businesses to minimise risks to workers and customers. 

Our goals were to help users:

  • understand what the NSW Government is doing to support people through COVID-19. 
  • find information in minimal clicks about how to access assistance, advice and government services to help them through COVID-19, regardless of which agency is providing the service. 
  • find updates about business and economic support in NSW, e.g. grants and funding. 

A close working relationship with Treasury, Service NSW, SafeWork NSW and NSW Health was formed to expedite the collation, approval and publication of content. The number of published pages relevant for businesses grew from 1 to more than 50. Our focus remained on simplifying the customer journey and centralising the content on nsw.gov.au. 

We further established our role as the online platform for COVID-19 business information by providing the online platform for the government’s COVID Business campaign – ‘Helping Business get back to work’.

COVID-19 Safety Plans

With SafeWork NSW, we began creating content tailored for specific industries. This work grew into the COVID-19 Safety Plans. As of November, there are 44 industry-specific Safety Plans on the site. We also supported the CALD community with translations of safety plans in more than 5 languages for restaurants and cafes, beauty salons and general safety plans. 

COVID-Safe business registration

COVID Safe is a NSW-wide program that helps businesses follow the rules, including: 

  • industry-specific advice on COVID-19 health and safety
  • signage to show that they are committed to protecting their staff, customers and visitors 
  • feedback on how customers rate their level of COVID Safety  
  • updates to information about changes to health and safety rules.  

 

After a business registers as COVID Safe, they receive:  

  • a digital COVID Safe badge for use on Google and social channels 
  • posters on safety, hygiene and physical distancing 
  • reports on how customers rate their business’s hygiene and distancing measures
  • a QR code to assist with customer registration. 

These all help customers by showing the business is committed to keeping our community safe. It helps to keep customers confident and ensures staff wellbeing is looked after.

How we're tracking

  • Since 16 April 2020, the COVID-19 Business section has received 5,603,202 page views.  
  • Over 105,061 businesses have registered as COVID Safe (as at 27 November).
  • More than 433,150 COVID safety plans have been downloaded (from 30 May to 27 November).

The road ahead 

COVID-19 has challenged our team to re-think how we work with other government agencies to produce informed content and digital experiences for our customers.

As user needs change, we will continue to co-create content and digital tools with our agency stakeholders to respond to the needs of businesses in NSW.

Visit the COVID Safe Hub for more information.

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