When The World Bank writes of the global economic shockwave that is the Q2 and Q3, 2020, they are quick to describe that energy and metals commodities are the most affected by the pause in economic activity and the “serious global slowdown that is anticipated.” Further, supply chain disruptions and government oversight and restriction of exports or stockpiles also raise concern. “In addition to the devastating human toll, the economic impact of the pandemic will dampen demand and cause supply disruptions, negatively affecting developing countries that rely heavily on commodities,” said Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, World Bank Group Vice President for Equitable Growth, Finance & Institutions.
But in our localized worlds reliant on the next customer in the door or the next client cancellation, positivity balanced with prudent planning is key. To that end, we must all examine closely how the costs associated with a now-open-but-still-cautious business environment will impact our costs of doing business.
“Employers should adapt infection control strategies based on a thorough hazard assessment, using appropriate combinations of engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent worker exposures.”
At home, masks, gloves, wipes, and hand sanitizer aren’t free, and your consumables budget is likely feeling the hit. Multiply that by an office of 50 or 100, and the impact is palpable. Beyond availability of these products, we must have an appropriate flow of these goods into our office or workplace environments to protect employees and customers alike. Consider housing enough for a 30 day supply, ordering at the 2 week mark and building to a “par level.”
Staffing for the sole purpose of sanitation and safety may be a trend unique to this pandemic. With what frequency are surfaces wiped and cleaned? More important, how are you communicating these activities to your clientele? Certainly this work goes beyond the pre-virus initiatives of a clip-board record. You may opt for a third party vendor to support these initiatives, bringing with its contract a new fee structure and expense. Whatever you do, Standard Operating Procedures (or SOPs) should be written and followed.
How your staff engages the public is not only different, it’s regulated by executive order. Communication of new expectations around hand washing, site sanitation, customer interaction and safety practices will take time and effort. Clear accountability should be stated verbally and built into handbooks or other governing documents.
Does your insurance coverage extend to new sanitation practices? How has your liability changed based on what is now true of our shared world? How has your unemployment coverage changed in light of the number of participants? While costs may not go up, you will want to review how your coverage relates to what is true today, not just what is true when you opened the doors to your business.
SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTION
With increased demand and some businesses critical to the preparation, packaging and distribution of goods still closed, there will be a log jam. Identifying when this will occur by anticipating slow delivery or absent goods and having a backup plan is critical. Being prepared will take time and investment but will prevent or limit disruptions in the services you provide to your own customers.
ON THE JOB MEDICAL SCREENING
CNBC reported that on-the-job medical screening such as temperature checks and antibody tests may be a reality for back-to-workers. “And in many cases it’s already happening: To combat the spread of coronavirus among essential workers, some of the biggest employers in the country, including Meijer, Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot and Starbucks have begun taking the temperatures of their employees before they are allowed to work.
But not all is doom and gloom. In late April, CNBC reported on 13 perhaps surprising changes we may experience following the pandemic, from unexpected co-worker closeness to home office stipends, and even a more equitable work environment.
13 WAYS THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC COULD FOREVER CHANGE THE WAY WE WORK
Working in an office could become a status symbol
Most meetings could be replaced by email and IM
It could be the end of business travel as we know it
Office buildings could become ‘elaborate conference centers’
Mandatory on-the-job medical screening could become the norm
Coworkers could become even closer
Fashion-ready face masks could become a wardrobe staple
Standard 9-to-5 office hours could become a thing of the past
Home office stipends could become a common perk
The workplace could become more equitable for women
Middle management positions could be cut forever
Automation of repetitive jobs could be accelerated
There could be an increased demand to close the digital divide
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