Here are some tips on what your business can do to prepare and plan ahead in the midst of the coronoavirus outbreak
All over the world, businesses are facing great challenges in the midst of this global coronavirus outbreak no matter their size. However, if you follow these tips and measures you can reduce the risks in your business.
1. Know the signs and symptoms
A great way to prepare for the COVID-19 coronavirus is to know the facts about it. By now we've all heard all sorts of things on the COVID-19, but what is this virus after all.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that usually cause respiratory illness. They include viruses that cause the common cold and seasonal flu, as well as more serious illnesses like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
COVID-19 is a new strain that has not previously been identified in humans and was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
What are the Symptoms?
Signs of infection include fever (>37.5ºC) and respiratory symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
In severe cases COVID-19 can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How is COVID-19 (coronavirus) passed on?
Coronaviruses are most commonly passed between animals and people and from person to person. The source of COVID-19 (coronavirus) is believed to be animals, but the exact source is not yet known. The virus is commonly passed on:
1. Directly, through contact with an infected person's body fluids (for example, droplets from coughing or sneezing)
2. Indirectly, through contact with surfaces that an infected person has coughed or sneezed on
Current information suggests that the virus may survive a few hours on surfaces. Simple household disinfectants can kill it. Investigations in China are continuing to identify the source of the outbreak and ways it can be passed on to people.
2. Employees who are sick or at risk must stay home
Employees who are sick should stay home. end of Story. People who are sick — be it common cold or not — shouldn’t be coming into the workplace. Make this policy clearly known and understood so employees don’t fear retribution for their absence. Employees who have recently traveled to a high-risk area or who have had contact with a coronavirus-infected person should be barred from entering the workplace for at least 14 days while their risk of contamination is evaluated.
3. Workplace Cleanliness, Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
There’s been a load of misinformation and confusion surrounding the coronavirus, but one thing health experts and leaders worldwide are on the same page about: washing your hands or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is the best way to prevent getting sick. Make it easy for employees to keep clean by placing hand sanitizer throughout the workplace and ensuring soap is well stocked.
Some other measures to take are:
Get rid of sponges and towels: These are a harbor for viruses and encourage transmission from person to person.
Increase the frequency of cleaning: Especially of common things like door knobs, elevator buttons, and water taps. Anything people touch should be cleaned multiple times per day.
Encourage employees to bring their own utensils: If your office doesn’t have a dishwasher, utensils are a particularly virulent way to spread illness. Ask employees to bring their own
Post these recommendations prominently and remind employees they can help reduce the risk of infection:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
Stay home when you are sick
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
4. Work from home Options
Now it's the time to come up with a remote policy for your business. Collaboration tools and video calls make remote work a viable option for most office workers, and it’s likely your team will be more productive from home rather than steeping in anxiety and frustration at having to come at the workplace. We understand this isn’t a viable reality for businesses such as retail shops, construction businesses and real estate firms but if and when possible, consider remote work.
5. Postpone Business Travel, Conferences and Company Gatherings
There have been multiple calls and warnings to “reconsider all nonessential travel” for China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran and to avoid crowded places. Many business and organisations are postponing all business travel, conferences and company meet-ups indefinitely. The technology available to us in 2020 makes global communication and collaboration possible ... use it!
There are many other aspects of a business which one needs to consider and work upon during this CONVID-19 outbreak such as Cash Flow, HR planning and other Financial Forecasts, however, the main concern remains Public Health.