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Communications and Operational Tips for Companies to Prepare for the Coronavirus

Like any crisis businesses face, poor communications and operational complacency could make the threat posed by COVID-19 an even greater challenge. How well your company prepares and responds will be judged by employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. Effectively communicating preparedness and making smart operational adjustments are critical for organizations to successfully navigate this or any crisis. 

Below are some tips on how to prepare your company for the worst case scenario;

Sound the alarm, but don’t be an alarmist.

Act straight away. Make it clear that if employees and contractors are sick – especially if they exhibit respiratory illness symptoms, such as a cough, shortness of breath or fever – they should stay home and see their doctors. Remind employees of proper hand hygiene, along with cough and sneeze etiquette.

Adjust policies to reflect the threat.

As companies encourage sick employees to stay home, they must also review work-from-home and sick-leave policies. Employees afraid of losing pay or opportunities are more likely to risk coming to work if they feel ill or have been exposed to COVID-19. The risks are compounded by recent changes many companies have made to their workspaces: fewer offices and more shared desks and collaboration areas. Your company must ensure employees and contractor’s are aware of your policy changes and that you will follow public health advisories.

Leverage technology and relationships.

The growth of companies allowing work-from-home arrangements is a positive thread that can help combat the spread of Coronavirus. Make sure your employees’ computers, tablets and smart phones have the most recent version of your remote meeting software. Limit large gatherings and before cancelling events such as product launches, large conferences or sales meetings, consider offering virtual meetings instead.

Be flexible, understanding the human.

Your organization cannot control the level of impact of the Coronavirus, but can positively influence how quickly your business recovers. Make health and safety measures a priority. Help employees and your community cope, and your actions will be remembered long after business disruptions fade.

Communicate early and often.

Keeping employees and other key audiences fully informed is critical to illustrate your organization is ready to cope as best as possible. Regular communications help to maintain trust. Your communications team should be structured to handle rapidly evolving situations. Having plans to regularly update employees and other audiences is key to reducing uncertainty and combating the rumor mill.

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