For Business: How to minimise the impact of COVID-19

The crisis we currently face with COVID-19 is having a major impact on business (of all sizes) across Australia. We will all need to make the best of it til life returns to ‘normal’ – whatever that will be in the future and however long it takes. Here are some more tips to help you navigate during this challenging time:

1. Protect your employees

Business, as usual, is not an option for most during this period. Except for emergency and critical jobs, many companies are asking their employees to work from home.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has put together this comprehensive guide for employers on how to get your workplace ready for COVID-19. The guide, along with these business resources from the Australian Government, Department of Health can help you figure out what to prioritise in your workplace and to create a plan of communication for your employees.

2. Identify what will keep your business going 

Businesses need to determine what is critical to keep them operating as well as possible. A recent McKinsey1 report suggests that most businesses need to focus on the following: employee health and well being; supply chain monitoring and delivery;  marketing and sales responses; coordination and communication with relevant stakeholders. You may also need to take a completely different approach if things can’t work the way they normally would right now.

3. Stabilise your supply chain

Given a lot of trade and manufacturing is done through China, the epicentre of coronavirus, COVID-19 demonstrates that many companies are not fully aware of the vulnerability of their supply chain relationships in times of a global crisis. China is beginning to ramp up its operations again, but now is the time to review and identify where in the supply chain is most likely to be affected by COVID-19, then plan how to manage supply for products that may see unusual spikes in demand. In many cases, long-term strategic thinking may be needed where businesses will need to review and update their planning, find and accelerate new suppliers to ensure a continuous supply.

4. Keep your customers informed

Keeping focussed on your customers and anticipating their behaviours is important right now. As the pandemic grows, so too has the demand for online shopping for all types of goods. The shift in online shopping will likely be more the norm in the future and businesses who haven’t been doing this need to start considering online more as part of their distribution because customers are not likely to go back to pre-outbreak norms. Remember to keep your customers informed on how and what your business is doing during this volatile time, they will appreciate the update and hopefully be more likely to support you.

5. Have a succession plan

A virus sees a CEO and an intern as the same person. With COVID-19, if the CEO is older, the CEO is more likely to be vulnerable to the virus than younger staff members. It’s really important your business has a disaster recovery plan in place. Don’t rely on that one person to hold the keys to the entire business. Define a key chain of command so that if one member of staff becomes ill or dies, the company can continue operating as a going concern.

6. Use the Government’s stimulus package

Earlier this month the Australian Government announced a $17.6 billion economic stimulus package to support individuals, businesses and households affected by COVID-19. The two major financial packages for businesses:

  1. Supporting business investment – An increase in the instant asset write-off to $150,000; Expanding the write-off to businesses to 30 June 2020 for those with an annual turnover of less than $500 million
  2. Cash flow assistance – Businesses to receive a credit of 50% of the tax withheld in their activity statement from 28 April with refunds to be paid within 14 days (capped at $25k); Wage subsidy of 50% for employees in training (capped at $21k)

7. Show your purpose and impact

Think about how you may be able to support the response or help with shortages—through providing resources, equipment, or expertise. As with the Australian bushfires in late 2019, where many businesses donated money to help relief funds; during this current world epidemic, we have companies shifting tack to help. Some examples: Louis Vuitton has ceased production of its perfume to create hand sanitisers that will be donated to hospitals in France, and in Australia Woolworths and Meals on Wheels (NSW) partnered together to help deliver free toilet paper to the elderly.

With such a major world crisis happening, it is understandable that businesses are also putting a pause on hiring. A lot of the students that rely on retail and restaurant work are having their jobs or hours cut, so if you can use one to help you remotely, please consider posting a role on Ribit.  We hope that the above will help you put some plans in place to ensure your business can survive and get through this current epidemic, and when you do remember Ribit is here to help connect you with students to get your business back on track.

Stay safe everyone.