How to Ensure Business Continuity During Coronavirus Outbreak?

Coronavirus (COVID – 19) Outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Does this declaration ring a bell?

Ebola was declared as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. H1N1 influenza was also declared a pandemic! The devastation caused by these deadly viruses, of course, is beyond numbers and figures.

But while we are at it, the economic impact of the Ebola epidemic on Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone was estimated at $2.8 billion. The socioeconomic cost of H1N1 influenza was 1.09 billion!

These numbers are real and pandemics like the ongoing Coronavirus are bound to create a similar impact on the global economy. If you look at this at a really basic level, businesses have to be gravely affected to cause a global economic meltdown as such. And, if you own a business in the US or any other country, this article is for you!

What are you doing to prepare your business for the Coronavirus outbreak? Does your Business Continuity Plan contain clauses for pandemic or epidemic cases like COVID – 19?

As a CEO or a part of the upper management, situations like this bring a greater responsibility for you – curbing work-related exposure & health risks while empathizing & handling anxiety and panic.

Here are a few tips that can help you ensure business continuity and “soften the blow” of the Coronavirus outbreak on your business.

Prepare for Pandemic: Establish Communication Channels

In panic-inducing cases like Coronavirus, communication is definitely the key! There is a thin difference between unnecessary hypes and verified news.

The first step of preparing your business against the Coronavirus Outbreak is to establish effective channels for a smooth transfer of information. Always rely on verified sources such as WHO and CDC for anything related to the Coronavirus Outbreak! Here are a few things you can do to ensure business continuity through Coronavirus (COVID – 19) outbreak.

  • Ask your HR department or set up a team to keep track of the rapid unfolding of events related to the Coronavirus outbreak.
  • Use this to inform your employees of its severity and steps they can take to prevent its spread. This will help you deal with the paranoia caused by the spread of any misinformation related to the outbreak.
  • Establish redundancy in supplies and create a stock starting today. Inform all the responsible parties of your new supply chain stabilization strategies

Given the stats related to the outbreak, it is going to get worse in the next few weeks and you have to prepare your business for the Coronavirus Outbreak!

Prepare for Pandemic: How to Handle Work?

The one precautionary measure that has been advised to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID – 19) from day 1 is to avoid physical contact. And, no matter how many preventive measures we take, our offices are populated enough to fuel the spread of Coronavirus if not multiply the infected entities.

This is the reason why big names like Twitter have implemented work from home in their branches worldwide. The key problem that not many are talking about is: will working from home or remote work going to be remotely as productive?

Now that schools and colleges are closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, you can expect every home to be packed and this will cause a serious hindrance for everyone!

But, you have a business to run. To ensure that allowing remote work doesn’t put you out of business, it is important to test remote work modules and find ways to effectively measure the productivity of your employees before implementing it.

Call a meeting with the managers of individual departments in your business and ask them to come up with a plan of how they will manage their team if remote work is implemented.

With the gig economy already on the rise, it looks like the Coronavirus Outbreak might be a major push for businesses to choose remote work for their day-to-day operations.

To give you an example, we provide managed remote employees to our clients. For our clients who have their entire team setup at Resourcifi, they have one less thing to worry about in lieu of COVID-19 outbreak – managing their employees and getting work done. We are, however, taking every precaution in the book to function efficiently through this outbreak – informing employees, testing remote work modules, and more!

Prepare for Pandemic: Tips for the HR Department

Countries that have multiple reported cases of Coronavirus have to act immediately for stopping human-to-human transmission to curb its spread to a large extent. The HR department has an important role to play in this.

  • Review your leave policies to ensure that a sick employee doesn’t come to work just because they don’t have any paid leaves left. This will not only increase the chances of contamination within your company premises but also during the commute.
  • The HR department should also allow flexible working hours for their employees. This will effectively help them to avoid crowded public travel during the rush hours and thus, lower the chances of contamination.
  • Increase the frequency of cleaning routines in your company. Ensure that the cleaning staff is using a good disinfectant on the premises. Place sanitizers at as many places as possible, especially at entry & exit points.
  • You should also encourage the use of and provide masks. Promote your employees about the usage of safety measures within and outside your company.

Prepare for Pandemic: Keeping Your Customers & Clients in Loop

Let’s face the truth. You cannot entirely avoid the impact of Coronavirus (COVID – 19) on your business. You can, however, take steps to minimize it. Here are a few things you can do to make sure the user experience of your customer & clients is not compromised during this tragedy.

Be proactive about updating your clients about any delay or discrepancy in the delivery of your services or products caused due to Coronavirus. And, informing them before the due delivery date will definitely help. To add a personal touch, you can also call to inform and empathize with them about the delay along with sending email.

You will have to request more frequent updates from the involved parties to do this. Once you know about a delay beforehand, you can create strategies to effectively manage its impact on your business!

Besides this direct benefit, improving consumer interaction always pays off. If you manage to inform clients and consumers about any discrepancies or delays, you can expect to add more users to your loyal consumer base when this COVID – 19 outbreak is dealt with!

Ensuring Business Continuity & Preparing for a Pandemic in Future

I think there cannot be a better time to smartly use analytics and business forecasting to stay ahead. Keep a close track of how economists are predicting the impact of Coronavirus Outbreak on the global economy and prepare your future strategies around the gathered data. This outbreak will also serve as a wake-up call for companies who haven’t included clauses to deal with pandemic and epidemic cases like this in their Business Continuity Plan!

Lastly, every entrepreneur has an important role to ensure the welfare of their community. Try to create awareness about ways to curb the spread of Coronavirus in your community. Together, we can definitely fight through this global tragedy!