The novel coronavirus ravaging mainland China and now spreading to 31 other countries and territories around the world threatens to disrupt everyday life.
Those affected or at risk are forced to quarantine themselves. That means a lot of lost work, lost productivity and lost revenue for your company.
Already, the global economy is reeling due to concerns over the virus, dubbed COVID-19. Major companies like Apple have said the illness is putting a big dent in production, and business travel is slowing, including for major events in the technology industry.
With the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now saying the widespread transmission of the virus in the U.S. is inevitable, enterprises and organizations should begin taking steps to prepare. Thankfully, technologies that allow your employees to work remotely already exist.
Now is the time to double down on your investments in videoconferencing and unified communications solutions. Tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack and others can help your company tread water during what the CDC expects will disrupt everyday life for U.S. businesses.
“Schools, childcare centers, workplaces, and other places for mass gatherings may experience more absenteeism,” the CDC said in a statement. “Public health and healthcare systems may become overloaded, with elevated rates of hospitalizations and deaths.”
At a Tuesday news conference, CDC officials warned organizations to prepare for the disruption the virus may cause.
“It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a news briefing.
She said that cities and towns should plan for “social distancing measures,” like dividing school classes into smaller groups of students or closing schools altogether. Meetings and conferences may have to be canceled, she said. Businesses should arrange for employees to work from home.
“We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare, in the expectation that this could be bad,” Dr. Messonnier said.
As working from home or remotely has increased, communications solutions like Zoom, Slack and Microsoft Teams have exploded in popularity in recent months and years.
Use these already proven tools to help your company cope with the effects of what could become a global pandemic.