Business Continuity in the Time of Coronavirus

Employers are encouraged to develop a business continuity plan to survive the Coronavirus outbreak.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has released a guidance for employers to help them protect employees and provide business continuity for their organization. All employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from the Coronavirus to ensure business continuity.

As with all illnesses, employees diagnosed with Coronavirus should stay home and away from the workplace. While at the workplace or home, it is important to use cough and sneeze etiquette. Encourage employees to frequently clean hands with soap and water, and routinely clean commonly touched surfaces.

The guidance is based on the latest information from the CDC and offers this advice in advance of diagnosed cases:

Is Flex Working an Option?

Review human resources policies. Explore whether you can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours.

Remind employees that if they become sick, they should telework instead of coming into the workplace until symptoms are completely resolved.

Create an Employee Communications Plan

Establish a process to communicate the latest Coronavirus information to employees and business partners. In addition, anticipate employee fear, anxiety, rumors, and misinformation, and plan communications accordingly.

Plan for Spikes in Absenteeism

Determine how you will operate if absenteeism spikes from increases in sick employees or those who stay home to care for sick family members.

Do you operate in areas where schools are closed? Some employees might request to work from home if possible to watch or home school their children. Be prepared for disruptions during virtual meetings, because children and family members might not realize employees are on a call.

Coordinate with State and Local Health Officials

Coordinate with state and local health officials. Timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses in each location where your operations reside. The intensity of an outbreak may differ according to geographic location. Local health officials will be issuing guidance specific to their communities.

Employers should learn about plans in place in each community where they have a business by contacting their local public health department.

Create a Business Continuity Plan

Change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations. You might need to identify alternative suppliers or prioritize customers. Consider digital meetings if possible.

Related articles:

Coronavirus – Leading EHS During Crisis
OSHA Releases Guidance About Preparing the Workplace for the Threat of COVID-19
Coronavirus: Will It Cause Workplace Distraction?

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About Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the Global EHSQ Content Lead for Intelex Technologies. Formerly the Content Director for EHS Today, she has been writing about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990. Her work as a journalist and editor has been recognized with national and international awards. She has been interviewed about occupational safety and health for national business publications, documentaries and television programs; has served as a panelist on roundtables; and has provided the keynote address for occupational safety and health conferences.

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