The coronavirus outbreak is unlike anything we have ever experienced and is spreading at a rapid rate. Whilst nations scramble to regain control, business leaders are having to assess their ability to manage the threat it will have on their business assets, employees, supply chains, facilities and even their brand and image.
This situation is an urgent one, but it also highlights the importance of being prepared should an emergency or critical event occur, whilst also focusing on how people can be kept safe and businesses can be kept running. The key to doing this is having access to the right intelligence in order to monitor global and national risks in real-time whilst ensuring that your business can quickly automate its response and operations.
If you can, set up a coordination unit as part of your business continuity function. This then allows you to make decisions in a timely and efficient manner and avoids long delays which may be caused by lack of information or indecision.
In a time like this, it is crucial that your employees know what is expected of them. Whilst this has never happened on a level like this before, your employees should know whether or not they are to stay at home, what the operating procedures are if an employee is self-isolation and any information on prevention and treatment, if you can provide it.
You should be communicating your response plan and approach with your employees, families, customers and business partners so that everyone is in the loop. Create pre-written messages for certain and specific scenarios so that they can be issued without hesitation if coronavirus becomes a direct threat.
By allowing your employees to work from home, you can ensure that your business operations continue, even with limited disruption. Be sure to consider laptop configurations, networking issues and home computer security, but also be there to help them get to grips with working from home, especially if they haven’t done so before.
During this time, your organisation will need to consider the wellbeing of your employees, not only in the typical sense, but also in a business sense. You should be reviewing contracts, looking at health plans and allowing the use of private healthcare, if you offer this as an employee service.
Employees should know what is available to them should the contract coronavirus and if they are struggling with mental health issues as a result of being self-isolated. Be sure to recommend that employees still get out for exercise, are eating a varied and well-balanced diet and are taking probiotic supplements, multi vitamins and supplements to help their immune systems.
Technology has a large role to play in mitigating and reducing the risk and impact that coronavirus is having on businesses and people’s lives. Since the outbreak began, tech companies have been using their technology and devices to help fight the pandemic.
The better we can track the virus, the better we can fight it. By analysing data and news reports, using social media and government insights, AI is learning to detect outbreaks.
It isn’t only clinical operations which are being pushed to their limits, but the business and administrative side of the outbreak too, as they learn to deal with the huge influx of patients. Blockchain platforms are helping to spread up claim processing and reduce the amount of face-to-face interactions which occur between patients and hospital staff.
Chatbots are an essential communication tool for certain businesses in the normal day-to-day, but with the outbreak, some industries are struggling with an influx of enquiries. The travel and tourism industry is one which has struggled massively and dealing with enquiries is an almost impossible task. Chatbots are allowing those working in the travel industry to focus on other tasks, whilst they deal with updates on travel disruptions and procedures.