Coronavirus is the only subject that everybody is thinking about at the moment and will probably be for many weeks to come. The uncertainty of what will happen and how it will affect peoples’ lives is alarming to say the least and even more so for business owners.
There probably isn’t any business sector that is not going to be impacted by the coronavirus crisis although some will suffer more than others. Therefore, it is important to help reduce its effect by devising a contingency plan, also known as ‘Plan B’. Your contingency plan needs to take into account supply chains, transportation, communications, cashflow and staffing.
You and your staff should avoid holding meetings and staff travel should be stopped. Where possible your sales strategy needs to be moved online and you should communicate with your customers, staff and suppliers to keep them informed of what is happening with your business.
Prepare for homeworking
There may come a stage soon when, where possible, you will need to work from home. You need to ensure that you have the necessary arrangements in place to enable this. Staff will need laptops and mobile phones and the technology will need the relevant software installed to allow access to shared documents and to facilitate communication channels.
Homeworking may be seen by many as an attractive alternative to commuting to a place of work. However, many people will not be used to homeworking and they will need to have confidence, self-discipline and be motivated to do this effectively.
Business owners and managers need to trust their homeworkers and must set out clearly and agree how output and performance can be measured. Training should be provided and a trial period of a day or two will also be beneficial to all parties concerned.
What you should do as an employer
For those businesses that are unable to work from home then there are basic hygiene rules that need to be followed in the workplace to minimise the risk of infection.
As an employer you also have a duty of care and need to protect the health and safety of your staff. Here are some guidelines that employers need to follow:
What if I have to temporarily close my business?
In the unfortunate event that you have to close your business for a period of time due to the coronavirus outbreak you should check your insurance policy to see if you have business interruption cover and whether this includes an extension for notifiable diseases. This is important because the UK Government has declared COVID-19, which is the disease caused by coronavirus, a notifiable disease. If you don’t have this protection you should consider asking your insurer to add this cover, but your premium will increase.
Due to the rapidly changing nature of the coronavirus crisis, information from the Government is constantly being updated so for the latest advice please use the following links: