Preparation will go far to avoid miscommunication and disruption for both your staff and clients.
Priority #1: Health and Safety
The first priority should be the health and safety of your firm’s staff. Communicate the following pillars of health during this pandemic:
1) Remain at home if you have respiratory symptoms or a fever.
2) Cough into tissues or your elbow.
3) Wash your hands often for 20 seconds with soap.
4) Don’t touch your face.
This is also a good time to focus on office hygiene: stock up on sanitizer and disinfectant supplies. Encourage your employees to wipe down high traffic areas such as door knobs, copiers, water fountains, keyboards, and printers.
Reality check: if there are members of your staff who are healthy and crucial for your business to run, they may be required to come in. If possible, offer staggered commute times for these individuals in order to limit the number of people in the same space at any one time.
Business Travel Strategies
Many firms have curtailed business travel, especially to countries such as China and Italy. Large industry events such as the Mobile World Congress in Spain and the London Book Fair have been cancelled.
Are upcoming conferences in your field cancelled or will they carry on in spite of contagion fears? If the latter, offer your team the option to forego an event with large crowds.
As your company implements its guidelines around business travel, turn to technology to ease disruption. Tools like Zoom, Skype, and Slack can help your team communicate and collaborate, even from disparate time zones. Train employees on these tools, as well as video conferencing technology, as soon as possible in order to iron out any kinks.
No matter what happens with the coronavirus, your preparation for any eventuality is a useful exercise for the future. It proves that your steady leadership will steer your firm through this crisis and beyond.
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