How should businesses respond to COVID-19?

covid-19 economy
(© Alexander Borisenko –

As you surely know, COVID-19 has taken the world by storm and the way people go about their daily life has significantly changed.

The businesses impacted by COVID-19 face some of the greatest challenges, as they’ll need to endure inevitable losses from the disruption to operations. This requires an effective response that addresses employee safety and the impact on revenue.

COVID-19 creates several complications that make it important for everyone to be particularly safe. How you operated previously likely won’t facilitate the needs of properly respecting COVID-19, so you’ll want to figure out what you can do going forward.

To help you understand how to navigate the mess of COVID-19, we’ll take a look at a few important response methods below.

Put Employees First

One of the most important things to keep in mind is putting your employees first.

Your workers are the lifeblood of your business and they’re a critical part of your success. This is what makes them your most valuable asset and why they need to be your top priority during this time of need.

During a pandemic like COVID-19, your employees are going to be concerned about the safety of themselves and their families. It’s stressful, emotions are running high, everything is uncertain, and many people don’t know how to cope.

Another concern your workers are going to have is their job security. You’re surely going to experience interruptions and this means less income for paychecks.

As their employer, the best thing you can do for your employees is to give them peace of mind regarding their income situation. When their health and well-being is at risk, the last thing people should need to worry about is making enough money to stay afloat.

Make sure your workers know that you’re there for them and you’ll be able to support them as best as you can.

Embrace Telecommuting

This may not be an option for every business, but if you can, then you should embrace telecommuting or working from home.

The concern with COVID-19 is that it’s insanely contagious. This is why work offices and establishments create an unsafe environment.

If your employees work closely to each other, then there’s a good risk of spreading an infection. Because of this, it might not be feasible to have anyone working in-person at all.

The answer to this is telecommuting. If you work in an industry that operates digitally or through the internet, then it becomes much easier to work outside of the office. Collaboration tools and software makes it much easier to stay connected across distances.

If there’s a way to get work done while staying at home, then you should offer this option to your employees. This greatly reduces the risk of infection and still allows for productivity despite not being able to be at the office.

Offer Sick Leave

If telecommuting isn’t an option, then you should consider offering sick leave.

Whether your employees or their family members get sick, many of your employees likely won’t want to be working right now. They might also fear getting sick from being at work.

Because of this, they might turn to calling out and using any sick time they have. This can put them in a tough situation as they’ll feel uncomfortable needing to call out and can quickly run through any accrued sick time.

Where you can help is by giving employees the out if they want it. It’s perfectly reasonable to want to focus on other things right now, so being able to use paid sick time gives your employees the flexibility they need.

Improve Sanitary Practices

You should also improve your business’ sanitary practices.

Even if you were doing everything by the book before the COVID-19 outbreak, your sanitary practices are going to be behind if you aren’t adapting. You need to make the working environment cleaner and promote good hygiene.

This includes techniques like more frequent sanitization, dispersing hand sanitizer throughout the building, and encouraging cleanliness and hygiene. It is a joint effort between making the environment naturally cleaner and getting your employees to contribute.

With this in mind, you’ll want to make it easy on them by boosting the sanitary practices of your business. This will help limit the risk of infection should you need your employees to physically show up.

Anticipate the Impact

Finally, you need to anticipate the impact that COVID-19 will have on your business and develop a strategy to address it.

Unless you run a grocery store, COVID-19 is going to have a serious effect on your operations and this usually means a loss in income.

Furthermore, you might have less operational capabilities due to not being able to work at a physical location or through employees being unavailable.

This impact is certainly going to affect your bottom line and you need to know what to do about it. Failing to develop a plan of attack will leave you unprepared and this increases the potential losses that you’ll face.

On the other hand, understanding how COVID-19 will affect your business will greatly benefit you. It can tell you where you need to focus your efforts and how you can make up for lost income.

You should look at what the immediate impact is and how that will play into the foreseeable future. You’ll also want to think about how you’ll resume operations once the virus subsides.

While you may have many strategies in place already, it’s unlikely that you have one for a pandemic. This is the time to create one to ensure that you stay afloat during these trying times.

Closing Thoughts

COVID-19 is interrupting the whole world and it’s changing how businesses can function. This is translating to less income as people are isolating to avoid spreading the virus.

Not only are your potential customers staying home, but so too should your workers. This means that you’ll want to craft a response to COVID-19 that addresses the changing needs of your employees and the disruption to your operations.

A few things you should be doing include putting your employees first, embracing telecommuting, offering sick leave, improving sanitary practices, and anticipating COVID-19’s impact.

Taking this information into consideration, you need to help keep your employees safe and protect your profits. Figure out how you can satisfy both needs and you’ll fare much better during this crazy pandemic!

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