How to avoid coronavirus disruption and lead your business in uncertain times

As coronavirus disruption or Covid-19 sweeps through the world, businesses of all shapes and sizes, across every single industry are being disrupted and thrown into relative-chaos. Stock markets are falling, governments are attempting to handle the unprecedented situation and people are concerned.

To halt the frenzy and avoid coronavirus disruption, leaders must now stand up and proactively respond — similar to how they would deal with a data breach. But, how?

Minimise coronavirus disruption to business and lead

1. Communication

Maintaining communication is key according to Jason Falcus — COO of Kwalee, the UK’s leading mobile gaming publisher. He says that businesses should use the tech at their disposal so that constant communication doesn’t crumble.

“A big risk for disruption,” he continues, “is businesses falling into the mindset of ‘we’ll just pick that up when we’re back in the office/when this is all over’. We’re in uncertain times, and the best way to minimise disruption is to continue with working days as they were, just remotely. Don’t push back meetings or hold work unless you really have to. Technology makes keeping these things going possible. Work must continue or you’ll be playing catch up!”

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2. Time management

Heather Delaney, founder and director and Gallium Venturers, advises that business and tech leaders consider all their options with how they handle their workforces.

“You have to manage this time wisely and focus on sorting out any internal processes and measures which have so far been shoved to the back of the queue. Whether this might mean using the next month to sort out that website which was never rebuilt, crafting the PR and marketing strategy, training internal team members, or using the time to sanity check the tech itself,” she says.

3. Manage cash flow

According to Rick Smith, MD of Forbes Burton, a company rescue and insolvency specialist, the first thing to do is to focus on your cash flow and plan ahead for the coming year.

He says: “You should make sure you know your figures and basically, what’s coming in and out of the business, as well as mitigating for any foreseeable eventualities.

“You should also follow up on outstanding invoices and on the other side check to see what credit terms you are offering. Consider shortening these if cash flow seems tighter than usual, many will be seeking to do the same.

“If finance is needed, then it’s best to get it in place now. There are schemes and loans available but they may run out soon, perhaps when the full effects of Covid-19 have been felt, some may end.

“This could be the perfect time to cut costs. Where possible, have a spending review and look at what you could seek to streamline or rethink. Are you in control of expenses? Could smarter ways of working become your norm?”

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4. The workforce

Smith continues that looking after the workforce is probably the best way to ensure business continuity.

He advises: “If you don’t already have a business continuity plan or the means to allow your staff to work independently from the office, then get some sort of measure in place to allow this. Do you allow equipment to be taken home? Are your files and documents accessible securely from outside of the office? Are cloud solutions part of your IT package? This all helps when working remotely and means services can remain in practice even if society grinds to a halt due to isolation measures.”

5. Digital tools

Robert Darling, COO at technology firm Eko, says that on an operational front, “organisations need to make use of digital tools to enable online collaboration, knowledge-sharing and workplace processes to run smoothly.”

He advises: “Make use of digital tools that enable work to happen in a “business as usual” style as much as possible to maintain stability to the workplace routine.

“In parallel, it’s a time to strengthen communications across all levels and teams. Staff need to hear from management more frequently and transparently than ever before in order to prevent any panic or anxiety arising.”

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6. The customers

Finally, it’s critical to communicate with customers — letting them know the measures you’ve put in place to deal with this unprecedented set of events will inform them you are on top of it and planning accordingly.

“If there’s a chance your customers don’t know your action plan, confusion and disappointment could occur if they try to access what it is you do unexpectedly. This kind of carelessness is where the most damage to reputation can be done,” concludes Smith.


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...