How Business Can Work More Efficiently Amidst the Global Economic Breakdown due to Coronavirus

With the coronavirus outbreak stretching across the global borders and causing widespread anxiety, disruption and economic breakdown, many global enterprises are bamboozled about how to run their business more efficiently in such chaos. 

Many of the business owners of global companies from banking & finance, retail & ecommerce and other sectors nare in haywire now as they clearly lack guidelines about how to prepare their organization against this global pandemic event. Global enterprises -- from national retailers to chain restaurants -- all are putting efforts in tandem to fight against coronavirus so that they can run their business better by making significant changes in their company policies and employee work hours. 

To support global enterprises mitigate the risk of coronavirus better, the article will shed light on the key measures that companies can take to protect their employees, support customers, and run their business more efficiently:

Let’s dig deep and discuss each measure in detail: 

Provide the Facility of Remote Work 

In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, every business must establish the culture of remote work wherever possible, so its employees can work from home directly. 

Remote working arrangements made for employees can surely be a great help for them to avoid the threat of coronavirus which can sweep through cubicles, break rooms, factory walls and other company facilities. 

What companies should do: 

  • Create robust remote-working or telecommuting policies that define which teams need to be online, how they will communicate (e.g. Skype, email, Slack, etc.) and what deliverable each team member should provide during remote work. 
  • Provide work from home tips in the Coronavirus outbreak scene  to your employees to help them stay healthy and infection-free. 
  • Invest in work-from-home technology
  • Train team leaders to communicate better with employees on remote work, 
  • Identify the most crucial employees who are important for business continuity.
  • Develop a proper disaster preparedness policy to deal with the coronavirus crisis. The policy should highlight details like insurance coverage for cancelled business trips, financing options, supply chain alternatives and more. 

Minimize Office Meetings and Travel

As a business owner, try to minimize the interactions between office staff and apply the principles of social distancing. Postpone team meetings that are unnecessary or try to hold them virtually. Also, skip business travel or any planned conferences of company leaders arranged in foreign countries. Implementing such measures can really help your company liability towards employees in case they fall sick during business trips. If not done, you might have to deal with a workforce with low morale and unlimited sick leave requests. 

Global IT firms like Google, Adobe, Amazon, Facebook, etc. have recently postponed their big company events. These tech giants are also advising their employees to avoid non-essential travel, take adequate health precautions, and work remotely. 

Give Employees Flexibility

As most nations across the globe are going towards a total lockdown scenario for a certain time by closing schools, malls, restaurants, etc., it is important businesses provide working flexibility to employees in order to run their business more efficiently. 

A recent survey results disclosed that employees of companies embracing remote work in coronavirus hit regions were found to be happier, less stressful, and more trusted by their employers. 

Obviously, there are certain jobs where working remotely is not possible for employees. Many of the supermarkets, restaurants, delivery services and bank branches are unable to provide this facility to their employees due to the nature of their work. For such businesses, establishing policies that ensure maximum flexibility for employers is important. 

Maintain Transparency in Brand Communication 

As everyone across the globe faces coronavirus together, it is important businesses stay transparent with their customers. Customers can show empathy with your brand or business, as long as you maintain proper communication with them about your community work. Performing charities or doing community work can really boost the profits or future financial performance of your business. 

You should tell customers what health & safety measures your business is taking to mitigate the coronavirus risk for your employees and the wider community.

See this Twitter Post How Google is maintaining clear communication with its customers about its community work as a response to Coronavirus: 


Other leading global software development companies like A3logics are also putting efforts to stay transparent with its customers on various social media channels. See this engaging Linkedin post of A3logics about how it's helping its business partners and customers by staying operational at every level: 


To stay consistent with brand messaging, Twitter has also provided guidelines for companies for how to deliver their message correctly with customers on social channels amidst the coronavirus crisis.

Establish Highest Hygiene Standards at Workplace 

As COVID-19 is inflicting severe economic loss of many global enterprises, it is important that your business enforce the highest hygiene standards, so that your employees can work more productively without getting sick.  

To stop the spread of coronavirus at your workplace, enforce these health and safety measures:

  • Enforce a non-contact method for greeting to employees. Tell employees to avoid handshakes. 
  • Circulate guidelines for employees to wash their hands properly before entering office premises like food preparation zones, cafeteria, etc. Also, guide them to wash their hands throughout the day. 
  • Regularly disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, handrails, the POS system, tables, desks, etc. at your workplace. 
  • Educate your employees and customers about coronavirus prevention measures and cleanliness.

Aso, look at these CDC guidelines and UK government guidelines for businesses about how to plan, prepare and respond against COVID-19. It will help you better keep your employees healthy and infection-free.

Shift Your Sales Strategy towards Digital 

Most companies around the globe can learn their way from the blueprint laid by Chinese companies about how they shifted their sales strategy online. When Chinese companies confronted the reality of the coronavirus outbreak in their region, they immediately shut down their storefronts for both customers and workers to prevent any human suffering. 

For example, in Wuhan province of China, a company called Lin Qingxuan dealing in cosmetics closed 40% of its offline stores, and shifted its beauty products on digital platforms like WeChat for sale. Selling cosmetics online has helped companies engage better with customers and provide immediate resolution to their problems. This boosted the company growth by 200% compared to previous year sales, as reported by Harvard Business Review

So, instead of closing your storefronts, it's better to find other ways to sell your products or services to customers - taking assistance of technology, social media and emailing. Such a strategy can really help you improve your company's sales and profit. 

Prefer Business Interruption Insurance

If you are in the list of businesses, who have already suffered major financial losses due to the current global pandemic, it is highly recommended to opt for a business interruption insurance plan. Majority of the global US companies are advised by their government to go for business interruption insurance plans, so they can recover losses due to such unexpected emergency events in near future. 

Think about Long-Term, Stay Innovative 

Though companies in China and some other countries have already moved past crisis response to the recovery and post-recovery planning stage, the threat of coronavirus is not gone for other major economies across the globe.  

27% of US businesses will have a major impact on their revenue whereas 30% will have moderate to high impact on their supply chain functions, as reported by SmallBizTrends. 

Hence, as a business, it is important to maintain excellent relationships with your suppliers, investors, partner and local officials amidst this pandemic and learn strategies about how to stay above the danger to tackle COVID-19 better. 

Thind beyond rebalancing your product portfolio, identify customer needs, and look for opportunities for innovation rather than taking defensive moves. Learn from Chinese companies about how to find opportunities to innovate. 

For example, insurance industry companies can learn from their counterpart Ant Financial. This company is now providing coronavirus-related coverage under its products to customers, serving its customers' needs better. The company also expects to have a 30% increase in its health insurance income in February compared to the previous month.

Final Thoughts…!

No doubt, China and major economies have started to recover from the coronavirus crisis, it is still expanding rapidly across the world, creating a snowball effect. In such a time, global companies must adopt a high-frequency approach of learning, codifying and applying lessons learned from other regions in their company practices to protect their employees and business. Indeed, an adaptive and flexible approach is what companies should apply today beyond crisis management to maintain business continuity and profitability amidst this global pandemic. 

 

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