Global companies have to be predictive and proactive in their decision-making to preserve business continuity and build enterprise resilience.
As companies navigate the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, there are a number of key issues corporate leaders should be thinking about, as well as steps they can take to not only react to severe business shocks now but also reshape their business and plan for recovery.
We have identified five priorities for business leaders to consider – many based on perspectives and experiences from China and other countries in Asia, where COVID-19 first impacted.
1. Prioritize people safety and continuous engagement
Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the employees in the workplace is essential. People are looking to their employer, community and government leaders for guidance. Addressing their concerns in an open and transparent manner will go a long way to engaging them and reassuring the business continuity.
One of the adjustments companies have to make is to initiate or expand flexible work arrangements and other policies that allow people to work remotely and safely. Depending on the sector, companies will want to reorganize teams and reallocate resources, and establish employee wellbeing programs and policies that support a safe working environment. Additionally, companies will want to produce regular communications that align with current government and health authorities’ policies to help employees remain engaged as they and the organization navigate through the crisis.
Finding ways to reimagine a business-as-usual environment that minimizes disruptions for the organization requires a fine balance. Where telecommuting or flexible work arrangements aren’t possible and companies must have workers on site or in direct contact with customers, it is important to provide infection protections measures.
To help companies provide safe work environments, some municipal governments are working with big data amassed by technology companies and mobile operators to develop a health QR code system that allows people to track their movements over the previous 14 days to prove that they haven’t visited any high-risk areas. Still other governments centrally and locally are exempting or deferring, in part or in full, social insurance and rental payments.
Even with all these measures, there will be businesses that will experience workforce disruptions. Labor shortages and increased costs due to mobility restrictions that various state and local government authorities have imposed will impact businesses. Companies that experience unique challenges, not covered by specific policies already issued, should seek advice from their local governments. Many governments have introduced fiscal stimulus and assistance programs for small businesses and sectors such as tourism and hospitality which have been severely impacted.