Spotlight: CovidSafe Plan by AboveProof

Each month, we feature one of our favourite Josef bots.

This time, we’re sharing CovidSafe Plan, a bot that helps local business owners reopen quickly and safely by generating a reopening plan that complies with government guidelines in minutes.

Following the announcement that lockdown conditions were easing in Victoria, Australia, business owners across Melbourne rushed to reopen and resume trading.

CovidSafe Plan was created by Jeremy Koadlow, founder of AboveProof, a compliance company with a vision to cut through business red tape. The bot was launched with the support of the local council, City of Yarra, as a part of their response to COVID-19.

We spoke to Jeremy to hear more about the story behind his Josef bot.

What inspired you to build CovidSafe Plan?

Every business in Victoria needs a personal CovidSafe plan to reopen.

The government is releasing new information about compliance all the time, and as a business owner I was reading and relaying this kind of information to my team. 

There was so much information and I wanted a simple way to consolidate and present it so it was easy to follow. That’s where Josef came in.

AboveProof founder Jeremy Koadlow wants to help business owners cut through red tape.

AboveProof founder Jeremy Koadlow wants to help business owners cut through red tape.

Once I built the bot, the City of Yarra said they’d be interested in sharing it more broadly, starting with a working group for their liquor license venue businesses. From there, it snowballed and it started being used by all kinds of businesses, including outside the local council area.

How does your bot, CovidSafe Plan, work? 

The bot helps businesses create CovidSafe plans faster and more easily. Any business can use it, and it’s relatively straightforward.

The original government document has a list of requirements and asks people to detail their actions matched to these requirements.

What goes through a business owner’s mind when they are faced with these sorts of documents is: “It’s too hard, I’ll do it later”, “I can’t be bothered and nobody’s going to check”, or worse, “I’m not going to do it, it’s not a big deal if something goes wrong.” 

“The bot turns a quick interaction into a neat CovidSafe Plan, all written from the perspective of the business owner, so they don’t have to spend time manually writing up their answers.”
– Jeremy Koadlow, AboveProof founder

Using Josef, I rephrased the requirements into questions that business owners or managers can easily answer, and added in potential answers using language from a guide published by the government.

The bot turns a quick interaction into a neat CovidSafe Plan, all written from the perspective of the business owner, so they don’t have to spend time manually writing up their answers. The bot also makes for a more flexible format and user experience. Business owners can complete the interaction on any device, and they can edit their plan later. 

It’s an interesting approach to give people a set of answers to choose from. Can you tell us why this is a better user experience for business owners?

Giving a set of answers means you choose which answers apply, and gives people permission to say no when requirements aren’t relevant. 

For example, asking people ‘Is it relevant, realistic and affordable for you to put up barriers in your workplace?’ is more useful than telling them they should install barriers where relevant. 

By supporting the bot, the local council has enabled hundreds of business reopen quickly.

By supporting the bot, the local council has enabled hundreds of business reopen quickly.

It’s wonderful to see the bot thrive and succeed. How do you feel about it, and what feedback have you received?

It’s only been a few weeks, but it’s been an incredible response. 

Yarra City Council said they’ve had people giving them compliments for providing the bot as a service, which I think is rare for a council! 

The chief operations officer of an HR company told me he was really impressed it only took him half an hour to generate a professional plan, where previously preparing the plan would have taken him hours. 

But the real proof is in the usage figures. Over 380 local businesses used the bot to create CovidSafe plans, most of this occurring within a two week period.

It’s not just hospitality businesses or businesses within the local council area either. There have been major hospitality groups that employ hundreds of people, through to an architecture firm, share houses, right down to a small bahn mi takeaway shop. 

As a business owner who has been badly affected by the lockdown, it feels really good to make something useful for other business owners.

“The chief operations officer of an HR company told me he was really impressed it only took him half an hour to generate a professional plan, where previously preparing the plan would have taken him hours.”
– Jeremy Koadlow, AboveProof founder

How did you find the building process on Josef?

As with all platforms there’s a learning curve, but I found Josef really easy to use. 

I really enjoyed learning about conditional logic and decision trees through the Designer & Builder Program. In lockdown, it was easy to access tutorial videos and help documents, and everything was really well put together. 

What’s next for AboveProof and your mission against red tape?

I’m thinking about creating other bots for business owners and government entities about compliance more generally. There’s an insane amount of things that even the most simple of businesses need to comply with. It’s overwhelming.

Business owners don’t always understand risk. With good governance, you can run a high-risk entertainment business really profitably. But without it, you can easily get tripped over by the smallest of things. And there are so many things you can trip over, whether it’s liquor licensing requirements or OH&S (occupational health & safety). 

With compliance, there’s always the chance that businesses miss something or don’t know how to do it. I want to help business owners navigate those unknowns, and solve these kinds of problems. 

 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

More of our favourite bots

Spotlight: CovidSafe Plan by AboveProof

Spotlight

Spotlight: iConfide by CEFC

Spotlight

Spotlight: COVID-19 Client Visitor Safety Bot by MinterEllison

Spotlight

Got an idea to automate?

Speak to one of our friendly legal automation specialists

Thanks for requesting a demo!