Coronavirus/COVID-19 has been the primary headline for the last few weeks, especially now with cases growing rapidly in the United States. What does this mean for businesses and marketing efforts? Should your business be adjusting your strategy? Here is our take on what you need to know and how to prepare.
Watch your industry.
As with any crisis event, you should watch and consider how this might affect your industry. Reports are showing that hospitality and travel have already been strongly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. These industries are likely postponing or pausing advertising efforts with the level of uncertainty about the outbreak.
Your business should be forming plans on how to adjust and respond to this crisis event. In days or weeks to come, we could see a decline in visits to brick and mortar stores as people become worried about being in public. If your business offers e-commerce options, you may plan and prepare for an increase through that channel.
Start planning to adjust/postpone events or conferences.
Many events, conferences, and large gatherings are being canceled or postponed. Health officials have even ordered the cancellation of some of these events in order to reduce potential spread. If your business is planning any form of gathering in the coming day or weeks, you should form plans on how to handle postponement or cancellation. If you have a venue and vendors scheduled, talk to them now to plan.
Another consideration to make is whether or not you want to suspend work-related travel for meetings or conferences. Start planning for alternatives so you can be prepared.
Consider options for working remotely/from home and communicate with employees.
Working remotely is easier for some businesses than others, but it is something to plan for. As a digital agency, we are fortunate that we can pretty much work from anywhere that has an internet connection.
You should communicate with employees about how your company will respond if there is a case of coronavirus within your company or if the area around your offices is being strongly impacted by the virus. Make sure that employees are familiar with video-conferencing options and that your employees have reliable access to the internet from home.
If your office doesn’t move to remote work, consider options to be more lenient with sick-time and illness policies. Allow employees to work from home, if possible, if they feel ill but still would like to/are able to work.
There is a lot of unrest and uncertainty, but we recommend that while you take this event seriously, you do not panic or create panic within your employees. Take all necessary precautions to reduce the spread and protect your business.
We are confident that health officials are working as hard as possible to provide relevant information and contain this virus. We are thankful for all healthcare workers, professionals, and first responders that are working hard to keep everyone safe.