Coronavirus - Is your business ready?

Coronavirus has leapt to over 85,000 confirmed cases (CNN), with countries such as South Korea, Iran, Hong Kong and South Korea reporting increasing numbers and a rising global death toll. As concerns of Coronavirus spreading quickly across the globe a number of companies have put risk management strategies into action.

It is important to review your business continuity plans and consider the new risks to your business, including your employees.

Twitter Inc is on the front foot managing the risks of a 5000 global workforce with concerns over the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Twitter has advised its almost 5,000 global employees to work from home. Twitter has also made it mandatory for employees in Hong Kong, Japan & South Korea to work from home. Square has also followed suit and no doubt many other global employers are executing their risk management strategies.


What should employers be doing now to manage the risk of Coronavirus?

Prioritising health is important for employee engagement, business and WHS risk management. If you don’t have someone responsible for risk management in the business, appoint someone in charge of keeping up to date on the risks you are facing as a business. From an employer’s point of view, the key question you should ask yourself is: How can we best protect our employees from exposure, within and outside the workplace?
  1. Make sure every employee and especially leaders know exactly what their role is in an emergency and seek feedback about any gaps (e.g. data security etc). This should be done face-to-face. As a CEO, I chose to lead these conversations to satisfy myself that our risk management strategy and business continuity strategy will be effective.
  2. Consider limiting international travel to absolutely necessary travel is a good risk management approach. If you have offices in Asia or highly infected countries, this is an opportunity to exploit or introduce the raft on remote working tools.
  3. If you do have staff in highly affected countries, supporting them by working from home and other measures that protect them and their families are important. Ensure they have access to the most up to date
  4. Ensure people who come to the office sick, especially if they are coughing are sent home as a preventative measure.
  5. If any employees have been on holiday overseas, make sure they are fit to return to work. If there is any cause for concern, i.e. If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, or they have been to a potentially affected area, ask them to seek medical clearance before attending the office. 
  6. Ensure all staff are updated with good hygiene. Keep an eye on the latest preventative measures and keep employees up to date.  (  Many people do not wash their hands properly. Ensure antiseptic wipes are available for all employees’ workstations, computers etc. Ensure your offices are deeply cleaned, in particular cutlery, dishes, shared areas, and toilets. Check when the air conditioning was last maintained. We’ve provided a download for you to check hygiene factors. 
  7. If your business is able to, encourage people to work from home and use remote working tools. Transport and CBD areas obviously have a high volume of people and present possible risks. 
  8. In addition, assess whether staff should be attending conferences, training events & networking events. 
  9. Remember, some employees will be stressed and anxious. Consider offering counselling services or remind people about your Employee Assistance Programs. Ensure your leaders are trained in what to look for and what to do. 
  10. Ensure leaders are able to facilitate positive conversations and manage via a remote working protocol. Some will need assistance in this if they are not used to dealing with these matters.

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The HR Experts (International) is Australia’s leading HR, Coaching and Training Consultancy, servicing SME’s globally.

We help businesses grow, scale, transform, become more agile, create amazing engaged cultures and workplaces, become talent magnets, whilst ensuring they have effective protection for your business. We work with you to develop your business and Employer Brand, protect your reputation, create engaged employees and raving customer fans, in a pragmatic and straightforward way.

Our flexible Kick Starter and HR on Demand packages now provide SME’s with an ability to tap into high calibre, pragmatic strategic expertise at a price they can afford to enable their business to skyrocket its growth.

We specialise in providing Strategic Human Resources and Organisational Development Consulting to SME’s and Start-ups, enabling your business to gain a strong share of the Talent Pool and gain a clear competitive advantage over their competitors.

We also offer Leadership, Career & Executive Coaching and Leadership, Team and Management Training solutions to ensure your business and leaders are able to create high-performance results.

This article is intended to provide commentary and general information. It should not be relied upon as comprehensive or legal advice. Formal legal advice may be necessary, in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this article. The HR Experts International is not responsible for the results of any actions taken or in-actions on the basis of information in this article, nor for any error or omission in this article