What is known about the coronavirus?
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has spread to at least 112 countries and regions and has sickened more than 116,000 people, with over 4,000 deaths. Governments are closing borders and imposing quarantines, and many companies now have travel bans. The full extent of human and economic impacts remain to be seen.
This epidemic is a wake-up call for companies to carefully review the strategies, policies, and procedures they have in place to protect employees, customers, and operations in this and future epidemics, notes the Harvard Business Review (March 2).
When will be the peak effect of the outbreak on businesses?
The HBR (February 28) predicts that the peak of the impact of COVID-19 on global supply chains will occur in mid-March, “forcing thousands of companies to throttle down or temporarily shut assembly and manufacturing plants in the U.S. and Europe.” Every company in every industry will be impacted in some way, with the most vulnerable being those that rely heavily on China for parts or materials. This impact will last for months, or longer after the epidemic is resolved.
Is your organization ready?
Is your organization ready? Chances are, probably not. Increasingly, organizations are canceling large gatherings, encouraging remote work or taking other steps reflecting an abundance of caution about the virus, according to interviews with officials in several states (Washington Post, March 3). Others are developing contingency plans about additional steps to take if the outbreak widens. Several major tech companies, including Facebook, Google, and Apple, are taking protective measures, canceling employee travel and large gatherings, boosting office cleaning and asking employees to work remotely.
Remote workforce protection
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Many companies have contingency plans around facilities going down. These contingency plans remain largely the same whether a plant goes down because of an earthquake, tornado, or in this case, a quarantine, notes Forbes (March 2). “It is time for companies to run drills around these contingency plans and make sure that everyone knows what they need to do and that they can do what they are tasked with doing,” states the magazine.
As we learn more about the risks of the coronavirus, it is vital not to overlook the need to assess your organization’s pandemic readiness, and to review your continuity plan. Taking a comprehensive and integrated approach will help you to protect employees, insulate operations, and ensure supply chain stability to maintain essential services for your customers.
Based on Liberty Advisor Group’s experience, it is imperative for businesses to implement a continuity program management cycle that starts with development of plans and procedures. The focus should be on:
- Identification and delineation of essential functions
- Succession planning of leadership and emergency delegation of authority
- Safekeeping of vital records and databases
- Identification of alternate operating strategies
- Continuity communications
- Validation of capabilities with testing, training, and exercise programs
Infectious disease outbreak response planning
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidance for employers on creating an infectious disease outbreak response plan, with steps including:
- Actively encourage sick employees to stay home
- Separate sick employees
- Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees
- Perform routine environmental cleaning
- Advise employees to take certain steps before traveling.
Every organization will be impacted in some way. Talk to us to learn how best to proactively protect your business and minimize the negative effects of this global outbreak.
ABOUT LIBERTY ADVISOR GROUP
Liberty Advisor Group is a goal-oriented, client-focused and results-driven consulting firm. We are a lean, handpicked team of strategists, technologists, and entrepreneurs – battle-tested experts with a steadfast, start-up attitude. Our team, with an average of 15+ years of experience, has delivered over $1 billion in operating income improvement and over 300 M&A deals for our clients. We collaborate, integrate and ideate in real-time with our clients to deliver situation-specific solutions that work. Liberty Advisor Group has the experience to realize our clients’ highest ambitions. This year, Liberty has been named to the 2019 Best Places to Work in Chicago and to FORTUNE’s list of Best Workplaces in Consulting and Professional Services.