Prepare for Covid-19 by being proactive instead of reactive. Everyone is watching social media updates and reports on the Covid-19 virus and to say there’s collective panic is an understatement. Covid-19 has hit South African shores with 51 official cases reported thus far. We’ve seen how rapidly the virus has spread in countries like Italy and to not give it sufficient attention would be a grave mistake.

The president addressed the nation on the 15th of March announcing a state of disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act and also discussed the measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus. The following main points were made:

  • A travelling ban on foreigners from high-risk countries
  • South African residents to avoid travelling to identified high-risk countries
  • Gathering of more than 100 people prohibited
  • Schools closed on Wednesday until after Easter
  • Businesses to intensify hygiene
  • Minimize physical contact
  • Increase capacity at hospitals

It’s essential to be as proactive in your business when it comes to the looming threat of Covid-19. Here are a few tips on how to Corona-proof your business.

1. Social distancing

Employers should encourage employees to work from home. People whose jobs can be done remotely or from home should work from home. Limiting physical interaction among humans is essential in trying to curb the spread of the virus. Apps like Microsoft Teams and Skype will help you communicate with your team while working from home. Although there has been a brief Teams outage reported in Europe, there’s nothing that a good old’ email can’t communicate.  

Your social life is going to have to take a backseat. Meeting groups of friends for lunches or dinners is not advised and should be avoided.

2. Promote workplace cleanliness and hygiene 

Businesses, including corporates, should have hand sanitizers everywhere. Sanitize common spaces and shared-use objects. Put up signs to remind people to sanitize around the office. Make hand sanitizer accessible in all areas of the office. 

3. Compile a business continuity plan and share with your employees 

A contingency plan is essential and should not be left for the last minute. Identify all the roles and functions in your company and have a game-plan that you share across the business. Plan for restricted travel, employee’s absence and social distancing. Also, identify the health and exposure risks that your employees face. Communicating with your employees is key. This will help reduce panic and put employees at ease.

The BC Economic Development Association compiled a comprehensive guide for how small businesses can navigate the spread of Covid-19 and the key points are:

  • Identify objectives
  • Identify key business functions
  • Assess employee’s exposure and health risks
  • Review business policies
  • Implement

You can read more about preparing your small business here: 

https://smallbusinessbc.ca/article/resources-for-small-businesses-affected-by-coronavirus-covid-19/

Covid-19 is spreading fast but misinformation is spreading faster. Educate yourself and your employees on factual and official information about the virus. Following hashtags on twitter is a real-time way of getting information, but before you panic, verify from reliable and official sources. The following links are where you’ll find factual information on the virus:

http://www.health.gov.za/index.php/outbreaks/145-corona-virus-outbreak/465-corona-virus-outbreak

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-03-15-disaster-declared-as-south-africa-shuts-down-to-fight-covid-19/

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/