SAN FRANCISCO, CA / ACCESSWIRE / MARCH 12, 2020 / If you're living in an area affected by the coronavirus you probably know what panic looks like. Media keeps sharing the facts that might not be 100% sure, and the public already started emptying out the shelves at the store worrying about what might happen tomorrow.
Businesses all over the world have been affected by disrupted supply chains, lack of shoppers and limitations the coronavirus has put on the usual workflows. Yet, the companies are doing their best to keep their workers safe, and they're taking different measures. So, let's see how some of the biggest names in different sectors are handling the current situation.
Lufthansa and KLM airlines have offered unpaid leave to their employees, and they've completely stopped or minimized current hiring. Chevron in London sent around 300 employees to work from home, because one of them travelled to Italy and came back with flu-like symptoms. Similar case happened at OMG, where one team member passed through Singapore and came back showing the same symptoms.
Pay-television company Sky is screening visitors at their offices around Europe, and all employees of Dentsu advertising's HQ in Tokyo are currently working from home.
In Italy, which is now facing the largest outbreak in Europe, Generali insurance and Armani have sent their employees to work from home as well, in order to minimize the possibilities of any of them getting sick.
An employee in Google's Zurich office tested positive for coronavirus, so the company halted all international travels, and cancelled their I/O conference. Twitter also cut down the travels, events, and visitors. Additionally, their employees in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea are required to work from home, while the company is strongly encouraging all other employees to do the same if they can.
An employee in Amazon's Seattle office has tested positive as well, so the company restricted non-essential travel, even within the US. Although the company did advise employees to work from home if they want, a mandatory ban on office work still hasn't been made.
Following all other giants, Facebook cancelled their F8 conference, as well as their Global Marketing Summit. They also limited travel to the essential travel only.
Ernst & Young currently prohibits employees from attending external events that aren't critical for the clients and have more than 100 attendees. They've also limited internal meetings to 25 people, and implemented other similar measures.
What Can Your Company Do?
Well it depends how big your company is and how affected is the area you live in. However, it's never too early to plan for the worst. First of all, you should limit travel, try to hold as many meetings as possible in a virtual environment, and prepare a work from home policy for your team.
It's not going to be easy, and if you just decide out of the blue that you'll be working from home, a lot of things could go wrong. So, start testing before you go. Ensure that everyone has laptops, and other hardware they need. Check if the internet speed your workers have at home is satisfactory for their level of work. Additionally, make sure that the tools they use are easily accessible online, and create proper channels for data and document sharing.
Communication could be a big pitfall, thus you should create policies on reporting, places (like channels in Slack, or group chats) where everyone can share information related to the topic. Agree with your team if you'll keep the office working hours, or you're moving to a more flexible schedule during this time.
Implementing a work from home policy overnight is as challenging as it sounds. Neither your employees or managers are used to this type of work, so you must do everything in your power to make this as easy as possible. Start testing out one day of remote work through teams, but also let your managers work remotely so they can see if they're keeping the situation under control. That's the best way to foresee the issues that might come up, and catch them while you still have the time to find the best solutions.