Amid the widespread worry and toilet roll panic purchasing, we wanted to step in with our “three P’s” approach to Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Preparation, Prevention And Perspective
With Coronavirus already having a marked impact on the global events industry I took the time this morning to catch up with an ex-colleague who works in Scandinavia’s leading event agency. I was curious to know how it was impacting their business and the measures they were taking to reduce it. Below is a summary which I hope proves helpful in weathering the storm.
Preparation Is Key
Tip 1: Communicate Clearly
Be it to your full-time staff, temporary staff, clients or suppliers – clear, concise and regular communication is key to reduce any sense of anxiety.
Tip 2: Cancellation Policies
With the likelihood of events or campaigns being cancelled /postponed make sure everyone’s up to speed on your cancellation policies.
Tip 3: Be Proactive
If you feel an event/campaign is likely to be affected why not start the process of re-booking it for later in the year? Do a quick risk assessment of your confirmed events & campaign and then act accordingly.
You know that event you have with 1500 international delegates coming up in a month? It’s most likely at risk.
Update any contractors or temporary staff on jobs that are at risk. If there’s a strong likelihood of it being cancelled make sure you give them enough time to find alternative work.
Tip 4: Be Flexible
Running an event with suppliers who will also be impacted? Keep an open dialogue with them. Everyone is “In the same boat” so flexibility around rebooking fees etc can always be discussed. Postponing is very different to cancelling!
Tip 5: Sick Leave
With the world health organization currently recommending that people suspecting they have been infected stay at home for 2 weeks, this will obviously have an impact on a company’s productivity.
Ensure anyone needing to take this advice is well equipped to work from home. Laptops can be cost-effectively hired (if employees don´t already have one), phones can be used as hotspots for the internet (if they don´t have wireless) and tools like google hangouts, skype will help ensure people can still participate in meetings.
Communicating clearly around sickness policies is also crucial. Recent changes in regard to statutory sick pay are worth brushing up on.
Tip 6: Communicate – Again!
Be proactive in communicating updates to your employees. Either in regard to your own internal policies or recommendations from the World Health organisation. Make sure someone is responsible for doing this so not everyone is using time on researching themselves. Know a great way of communicating with your staff? Using a kick-ass staffing platform like Liveforce, of course!
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Prevention At The Office
Whilst it may seem obvious, it is important to ensure your office is well equipped to help prevent any further spread.
Simple things like placing antibac in the toilets and paper tissues around the office will help reduce the risk
Remind people on how it’s recommended to wash their hands and cough or sneeze eg covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze more info here: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses.
Prevention At Events
There are a few simple tweaks you can make to ensure events can go ahead as planned
- Have a separate room for people that suddenly start to feel unwell at the event. If a room isn´t available a 3x3m pop-up tent is also easy to source.
- Send out a clear message to delegates prior to the event – if they suspect they are infected then they should stay home. Consider offering a webstream so they can participate from home.
- Clear signage on the event – printing out instructions on how to wash your hands and how to sneeze/cough will help remind delegates
- Insist that venues have paper towels readily available for delegates to use.
- Make sure antibac is readily available.
Keep Calm, Don’t Panic
Our great British mantra comes into play here – in essence, keep calm, don’t panic, wash your hands and communicate!