Just a month ago, it was kind of hard to imagine that the world will come to a halt. For entrepreneurs and their employees, it was business as usual. Schedules were booked, inventories were updated, products were sold, and customers were served; and then, seemingly all of a sudden, the entire planet woke up to a global novel coronavirus pandemic.
Officially known as CoViD-19, this new type of coronavirus is part of a family of viruses well known for causing various illnesses, the most common of which is flu. The coronavirus can spread via person-to-person contact and its key symptoms, which often show up between two to 14 days after a person is infected include cough, fever, and difficulty in breathing. The symptoms are known to range from mild to severe, and the worst infections often lead to pneumonia.
Outbreaks of CoViD-19 led millions upon millions of businesses to close not because of bankruptcy but by necessity, and a large chunk of the world’s workforce has to pull out of their workplaces and stay at home. Many entrepreneurs are surely caught unaware in spite of the gradual build-up that led to this dark chapter of history. If you are the owner of a small business that is yet to close up shop due to the pandemic, though, the least you can do is to prepare for the worst and be sure that you will not end up liquidating assets as soon as everything returns to normal.
Preparing Your Small Business for the Outbreak Season
While novel coronavirus outbreaks rage all over the world, there is a high degree of uncertainty for the future of any business. One can only wonder how many enterprises are going to make it through this season, especially since there is no telling as to how long this plague is going to last. Here are some steps that you can take to make sure that your business survives the pandemic:
Set measures to prevent outbreaks in the workplace.
While CoViD-19 is a highly contagious virus, the infection is, by no means, one that you cannot stop on its tracks. You can start by setting a standard of cleanliness for your workplace. Every single room or item has to be cleaned, sanitizers have to be available for your employees, and enforce strict hand hygiene rules for starters. Encourage physical distancing as well, and make sure that you are aware of your employees’ travel histories. Should any of your employees start exhibiting symptoms of respiratory disease, encourage them to stay at home and work there if possible.
Craft a pandemic preparedness plan.
Creating a pandemic preparedness plan starts with identifying your business’ most important and least essential components. Your plan will have to deal with an increase in employee absence that is expected to occur for a variety of pandemic-related reasons. You will need to know the employees that are integral to the daily operations of your business, whether or not they can work from home, and who can take over their duties should they end up unable to go to work.
You will also need to determine whether or not your business is operating in an area where the infection has already begun spreading. Given this information, you should be able to know the possible problems directly or indirectly caused by the pandemic are your business going to encounter. List them all down and be sure to have a contingency plan for each problem that can interrupt your business operations. You will have to make sure that your business is well-supplied with everything it needs to keep running, and you will likely need to find alternative suppliers if your partners have already been hit by the pandemic. Likewise, if you are projecting a smaller number of customers in the coming months, you will either need to slow down with your output or find an alternative market in advance. Time is of the essence, and you have to act with a sense of urgency.
Establish a work from home policy.
Unless the outbreaks are brought under control in the soonest time possible, you will need to maintain no more than a skeletal force to keep your business running. In the worst scenario, you will have to — temporarily, we hope — lay off some employees that are no longer able to work if your business’ physical edifice has to shut down. As it is, some of your employees will need to work from home and be provided with the capacity to do so. Not everyone is well-equipped for the task, and you will need to invest in the necessary hardware and software tools to facilitate a feasible work-from-home scheme. Tracking and office software are important in this regard, as these will keep your home-based employees productive and ensure that they do what they are entrusted to do. Also, and most importantly, you will need to set up a channel of communication that will help your home-based employees coordinate with you and each other whenever they need to.
Keep your employees on the loop.
Expect unease to reign in your business’ workplace environment, especially since it is very easy for fearmongering rumors to spread in these dire times. These rumors can easily cause panic and will affect your employees’ quality of work at a time when your business needs to be on top of things. The best way to counter fear and prevent panic is by constant direct communication between you and your employees. Keep them posted with the most important updates and encourage them to check with credible sources like the CDC for accurate information.
A Business That Is Flexible
The COViD-19 pandemic is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode in your business’ face. You should not wait for things to get worse before you act if you want to save your business. Whether your enterprise is operational in any way or has to temporarily halt a majority of its operations, it is imperative that you identify the preparations that you need to make and act accordingly. Dealing with the pandemic is a race against time, and you certainly do not want your business to be yet another casualty of the virus’s murderous rampage.