Perhaps because the majority of enterprises have been so used to using short-term responding plans to deal with issues like communication crisis, natural disasters, power-off, and water cutting, etc. that they tend to forget to be prepared for long-term problems such as the epidemic that is wreaking havoc.
Bloomberg Businessweek has interviewed tens of managing experts to come up with a list of things that enterprises should do to prepare for the epidemic.
Such a plan must include measures that could be applied in emergencies to ensure the safety of the employees and assets.
Several well-known brands have allowed their employees to work from home; others have established security barriers to check the health of visitors coming to work at the headquarters; the majority of companies have started to cancel oversea work trips of their leaders, etc.
These groups would have the responsibility of gathering information, analyzing the situation, and delivering the necessary information to employees, partners, suppliers, customers, and even the journalists.
Amidst the epidemic and in the context of fake news spreading, the mission of these groups is to ensure that the accurate information about the enterprises is known.
The priority during this period is to ensure the fluent operation of the IT department of the company, including hardware, software, and the data resource.
Enterprises need to consider the crisis management groups a forward command post, while preparing 3 locations for these groups to operate, including working at the headquarter, out of the headquarter, and online.
It is necessary to be clear about the steps that the employees need to follow and how the timekeeping will be should they work from afar.
Companies also need to state clearly the policies that could be used by employees with sick-leave in the current time to encourage those with even the symptoms of common flu to take a break to prevent infection or to lessen the worries of other employees.
After having done with the easy part, enterprises could spend time on relatively harder tasks such as:
For example, experts consider the case of an accounting department. In this department, the employees’ salary calculations and payment, as well as the payment for the suppliers, are important, but the tax calculations or the audit can wait.
The urgent thing to do is to determine the key factor related to the survival of the business, thus determining the indispensable demands such as the necessary materials or sub-contractors.
From there, it will be easy to figure out what needs to be done to maintain vital relationships as well as the material supplies.
It is vital for businesses to come up with a list of employees who could maintain the operation even at the lowest level.
Experts deem this is the moment when businesses must understand that at one point, employees may not be able to make it to work, thus deciding on the positions required for the operation that need to have back-ups in case of emergency.
Covid-19 turns out to be the opportunity for enterprises to apply Information Technology in groundbreaking management. For example, quarantine, interaction restriction, and conference restriction have resulted in the needs of "online meeting".
“Online meeting” may sound easy enough, but it is harder in practice. This is the chance for employees to overcome issues that may stem from “online meeting”, and to get used to applications that support working or having conference online.
Many large tech businesses have also taken advantage of this opportunity to make previously paid software free. For example, Microsoft gives its users a six-month trial of the Teams chat application, allowing users to record online meetings and giving them 1TB of free storage.
Google also allows G Suite users to access Hangouts Meet, which is a kind of online meeting, with a maximum capacity of 250 attendances, as well as the ability to record the meeting and to create a Livestream with a maximum of 100,000 participants.
Other businesses like Cisco, Zoom, and LogMeIn have also given users free access to several important applications, supporting enterprises in organizing online working or meeting sessions.
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