Business Insights

Coronavirus in the Workplace - Top 10 Tips

Our sister company, People Puzzles - The UK’s largest provider of part-time HR Directors, has interviewed their team of senior level HR Directors this week around the conversations they have been having with their clients around Coronavirus, and have pooled together their ten top tips to ensure minimum disruption for your business. We have also put together a list of frequently asked questions and answers with simple practical solutions. We hope that you find this advice useful.

We have been interviewing our team of senior level HR Directors and pooled together their thoughts on the conversations they’ve been having with clients around Coronavirus. Below are their ten top tips to ensure minimum disruption for your business. We have also collated FAQs around Coronavirus in the workplace at the bottom of the page.

1. Prepare a business continuity plan – Plan for the worst, hope for the best!

  • Prepare and plan for future events and scenarios
  • Assess the risks across the organisation, particularly to critical revenue driving areas
  • Your plan should be dynamic and flexible to adapt to the changing situation
  • The team overseeing your plan should meet regularly, continuously review the situation and be empowered to make decisions
  • Update your employees emergency contact details and test your methods of contact

2. Consult with your employees

  • Your employees will all have different situations, consult with them
  • Find out which of your employees might have caring responsibilities e.g. if children are ill or schools close. Can they work from home, can you cover their jobs?
  • Involve your employees in solutions that relate to their roles and how they can help maintain your business operations

3. Plan for absenteeism

  • Department managers should draw up plans for how they could carry on with 20%, 50% or even 75% of your workforce absent
  • Consider providing training so employees can cover multiple tasks
  • Be clear as to how you’ll pay employees for different types of absenteeism (sickness, self-isolation, caring etc)

4. Plan and prepare for home working

  • Identify which roles could be performed from home
  • Consider what you need to do to prepare for home working
  • Are there IT security issues?
  • Can employees access company systems?
  • Will employees need to use their own equipment or will you need to provide (e.g. laptops, printers)?

5. Categorise your employees

  • Category 1: employees who perform business-critical, time sensitive functions and must be on site
  • Category 2: employees who perform business-critical, time sensitive functions and can work remotely
  • Category 3: employees who do not perform business-critical, time sensitive functions and could work remotely if feasible
  • Category 4: employees who do not perform business-critical time sensitive functions and cannot work remotely

6. Show that you care for your staff

  • Be clear that you don’t expect employees to come to work if they are ill or need to self-isolate because of the risk of infection – this will help reduce the spread within your workplace
  • Have policies in place to support this (e.g. sick pay policies)
  • Implement home working when necessary and if practicable
  • Communicate and listen to concerns

7. Review critical supply chains

  • Who are your key suppliers?
  • What happens if a key supplier has to close? Are there alternative suppliers; can you overstock?
  • Consider your key customers, do they require you to have plans to continue supplying to them?

8. Plan for a sudden reduction in revenue and cash flow implications

  • Identify mitigating action to stay within banking facilities/covenants
  • Identify categories of creditor and decide how to prioritise payments
  • Talk to landlords/leasing companies, creditors (e.g. HMRC) about payment delays or Holidays
  • Consider different ways of getting cash in from your debtors

9. Promote good hygiene habits

  • Promote and encourage regular hand washing for employees and visitors
  • Have alcohol based hand sanitizer readily available for employees and visitors
  • Consider social distancing e.g. discouraging handshaking and keeping people two meters apart in meetings

10. Check your business insurance and your contracts!

  • Can you claim for losses incurred by business interruption resulting from Coronavirus?
  • Are their ways to reduce your costs if necessary? Check your contracts to see if they allow you to reduce your exposure

Useful links

This is a fast developing situation and some of the information in this article may change. Below are some useful links to help keep up to date

This article was originally published here:


Business Growth

Written by Clare Methven

Clare Methven is the Co-Founder of The Marketing Centre and specialises in working with small and mid-size businesses. She has over 25 years’ experience working in PR and marketing agencies focussed on construction, financial services and travel companies.

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