On every corner, there is a new story about coronavirus. Its global impact has created an endless list of misinformation regarding the current state of the virus.
We decided to take a step back and evaluate all the data that is currently available regarding coronavirus and not react to what has already been played up in the media.
- So far, there have been 86,434 reported cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) outside of China with a mortality rate of 3.9%
- 90% of all coronavirus cases are limited to these eight countries: China (81 077), Italy (24 727), Iran (14991), South Korea (8236), Spain (7753), France (5380), Germany (4838), and Switzerland (2200).
- 81% of people who get coronavirus have mild symptoms and they pass in two weeks
- Over 140 countries reported cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) appearing on their territory.
- Coronavirus spreads through droplets from coughs and sneezes and it does so through personal contact
We base our employee and business decisions on this data. Here are four things that will help keep your employees safe amidst this pandemic.
1. Remote work
If you didn’t have a remote team in your business, now is the perfect chance to create one. You can either create that from your current team by having them work from home for the upcoming period or by bringing in some remote help in terms of freelancers.
Remote work will prevent people from having person-to-person interactions so any possible spread of coronavirus will be halted. Most who get it have mild symptoms which last up to two weeks so having people work from home for those two weeks might be beneficial to everyone.
By working remote, you will need to change the way you interact and communicate with your employees.
- Smooth, open, and constant communication
- This can be done via instant messaging applications and platforms
- Clear and precise goals for every individual
- It’s impossible to be productive and do your work without knowing what exactly is expected. Make sure that everyone in the team is on the same page when it comes to duties, goals, and responsibilities.
- Quantitative measurements of work done
- You measure your employee’s work by seeing their results — but first, you need to know what kind of results you want to measure. The employee should also be informed of how they are being evaluated so that they can focus on providing adequate results.
You can treat this as an experiment and see the difference in productivity when your employees work from home and when they work from the office. Try and make the most of the situation.
2. Postpone conferences, but not online team meetings
Coronavirus is a global pandemic now and the actions you take to prevent the disease from spreading need to correspond to the threat level of COVID-19. Because such a limited amount of information exists currently about coronavirus, we cannot fully understand the dangers of the disease. The best thing we can do at this moment to prevent the coronavirus from doing any more damage is to stay at home and quarantine ourselves to prevent further spread.
Conferences like the annual tech SXSW program, events, concerts, bars, pubs, and film festivals are being closed, postponed, or completely canceled. While we should be concerned with the current status of the coronavirus and the speed at which it is spreading, there is still no place for mass hysteria.
You should already postpone (or even cancel) all conferences and it would be a good prevention measure to close your physical offices for the time being. But you should be able to hold online team meetings and resume work while keeping employees engaged.
3. Travel only to get back home…and grocery shopping
Even though 90% of all COVID-19 cases are limited to only eight countries, the coronavirus continues to spread and the curvature of people who are getting it is almost exponential.
Limit and postpone all business (and personal) travel until it’s safe. If your business requires you or your employees to travel to any other country, take extra safety precautions like having hand sanitizers at all times, washing hands frequently, and avoiding face-to-face interaction when all possible. In general, apply social distancing and stick to the rule of keeping at least six feet away from other people.
4. Actively encourage sick people to stay at home until they are fully recovered
This is one of the strategies recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When it comes to businesses that close their offices during this time, most employees who are sick should stay at home until they are fully recovered, i.e. self-quarantining for two weeks.
Businesses should be flexible here with leave time and remote work in the upcoming period because schools will be shut down and some employees will have to take care of their children who are out of their schools.
The coronavirus affects not only the main breadwinners of the household, but also the entire family of the employee as well. If there is a sick person in the household, then your employee will have to ask for a leave not only to take care of the person, but also to self-quarantine themselves so that they don’t spread COVID-19 any further.
So the emphasis will be on flexibility and communication to keep everyone safe and still have a resemblance of an ordinary business day, week, and month.
Make it easier for your employees to get medical leave and have a disaster plan in place if things get worse.
Most of the problems for employees stem from the fear that the coronavirus will impact their ability to work (or keep their job). A pay continuation and a convenient way to take sick leave should be a solution that includes even the most marginalized employees. That’s how both you and your employees will persist through this global pandemic.
It, too, shall pass
Currently, coronavirus is affecting everything in the world and business operations aren’t an exception. Most offices have been closed down and people have been pushed into remote roles, but that doesn’t mean that everything should stop.
This is just one case of how we can adapt to the current circumstances and move forward until coronavirus passes. And coronavirus, no matter how disruptive it is, will pass as well. It’s about doing the best that we can in the time being.