Coronavirus has already impacted international businesses worldwide and the results have been less than desirable. Many companies in foreign countries are still not operating even though there is a growing demand for their products.
Although no one can yet tell how much of an impact coronavirus will have in the United States, it will certainly become much worse than it is now. This means that there is likely still some time to prepare – but it may not be much.
Lack of Preparation Is Hindering Response to Coronavirus
Having a business strategy about what to do if coronavirus strikes you or your workplace is important. Legal and medical professionals recognize that having a plan in place and being prepared for it will help reduce the number of people that are infected and possibly produce better end results – perhaps even enabling your company to weather the storm successfully.
Prepare Employees with Correct Information
Preventing the spread of the virus is much better than trying to cope with it afterward. If one employee contracts it or is suspected of contracting it, you will need to shut down and take time to disinfect the office and plant. You may also need to shut down for 14 days to see if it has spread.
Employees should be given correct information about how to prevent it, as well as information that will dispel any myths that are floating around. They should be told when not to come to work and when to see a doctor. They also need information about how to protect their families if it should come to your community. You can get the best and most accurate information from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC websites.
Cancel Travel to Virus Hotspots
It is better to be safe than sorry. If you or your employees are scheduled to travel to places where coronavirus is present and uncontrolled, such as Iran and Italy, or certain parts of Washington, cancel it. Keep them away from the area. Remember that coronavirus can spread from person-to-person even when there are no symptoms. If the virus is in your area, you also want to avoid large meetings.
Prepare for Alternate Supply Chains
You have undoubtedly already seen what happens when the supply chain is based solely in a country where coronavirus strikes – it shuts down. Prepare to continue to get access to parts and supplies from alternate manufacturers. Make sure they can handle the added load because other companies may rely on them, too.
This is also necessary because other companies and some customers may try to develop a lawsuit because of the breaking of a contract to deliver. You need to be aware of force majeure provisions to protect your company in that event.
Maintain Access to Employees
Even if your office is shut down, someone needs to have access to employee information. Employees will desire constant updates as to what is happening, as well as wanting to know when it will be safe to go back to work.
Determine How and Which Employees Can Work from Home
If coronavirus strikes your community, the schools and daycares in the area will likely be shut down. This means some employees will not be able to leave home. You need to establish some guidelines for working from home – if you do not have one already. When the shift is made, some people will need some help making the adjustment and a support group can help.
You may also want to look at your sick day policies. If there is a limit, employees may try to return to work while still sick. This would be bad. It would be best to eliminate the cap on the number of days to help ensure they only return when healed.
Being prepared for the possibility of the virus coming to your business will help your company come through it. Waiting till it is over will help everyone get back to work safely and a carefully laid out plan will help everyone stay calm.