There are warnings on how to prepare for the coronavirus in your personal life, for your family, in your home. But what about how to prepare for your company and guiding your employees? How will the virus impact your company and what is the best way to deal with it as a business owner? What is the best way to work with your employees to help them through the current state of affairs?
The coronavirus - or COVID-19 - has been no stranger from any news platform, social media platform, or any conversation you have. With cases hitting the United States at a growing rate, it's common for big-box stores like Sams Club and Costco to start selling out of paper towels, toilet paper, water, and canned goods. We have seen the virus starting to shut down universities, grade schools, nursing homes, and local businesses. It is also starting to impact our imports, changing how people are traveling, and all the while there is a rising fear of what this could mean for our country and as us as individuals.
Business owners and companies are going to have to deal with new things and issues they've never had before. Managers, human resources, bosses, and project managers will be dealing with anxiety, panic, fear, worry, and doubt from employees. What then? It's time to create a focus of keeping them calm, pushing business to keep operating as normal, and being an understanding leader. All the while you'll need to keep the possibility of shutting down out of necessity, safety, or practicality in the back of your mind. This could mean the loss of income, production, employees, and employee's wages and benefits. Outside the worry of catching the virus, quality of life-based on monetary needs will start weighing on you and your employees. What's going to happen next and what is the best way to handle it?
Legal, emotional, and practical worries are making their way to the forefront for many managers. The CDC and a handful of other government organizations have released all kinds of material on how to prepare, clean, and deal with daily business operations. Take advantage of these resources, they are there to help and calm you through this unknown period. When it comes to working with your employees and steering your company through this unknown period, there will be many things to consider. Read carefully through this list and see how it can help or continue to help your company.
One of the hardest parts of this situation is to separating fear from fact. If your employee is nervous to travel because someone "might" be sick next to them at some point in their travels, this might be fear put on by the media - not because it is an actuality. Also, please be aware that acting differently towards someone in your company, or anywhere, who you feel might be more likely to pass on the virus because of race or where they come from is a nasty form of discrimination and can be grounds for a lawsuit. Overreaction from anyone because of how someone looks and where they come from, will lead to some very sticky issues and situations. We do suggest that before you do make any of these choices to keep your company running smoothly, that you receive counsel from medical professionals, the CDC or proper law advisers.
Panic and fear can destroy a healthy situation, a strong company, and the employees within it. As a leader of your company, set a good example. Be prepared, but don't be afraid. Stay educated on the topic, follow the CDC procedure, and keep up with the statistics of the situation. The media can quickly take something and blow it out of proportion. In this situation, keep your employees calm, and have a plan for what might be ahead. Respect their wishes, and work together to keep healthy and safe.
If you have any questions, are looking for more guidance, or just need a little bit of comfort follow the links below to learn more.
The Pathways Team