With the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) continuing across the globe, the effects are being felt by all.
The outbreak is affecting the global economy, markets and government policy. Airlines and travel sectors are being hit hard and the supply chains of business are also affected. On top of this, education, sporting events and normal life are being disrupted in various parts of the globe as governments put differing strategies into action in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus.
At the time of writing, 80 countries have reported one or more cases of coronavirus.
As a global employer, we attribute considerable importance to maintaining and preserving the health and wellbeing of our employees and client employees, wherever they may reside globally.
We are conscientious that many of our clients will have not only PEO employees around the world but also their own operational bases, headquarters and other multi-site locations. The level of risk any organisation may face and the strategies it may need to adopt will depend on the local and regional advice for your area.
Advice and best practice for all businesses, regardless of geographical location, include:
- Remote working – consider this where practicable, particularly in high-risk areas in line with local government guidance. We would recommend that businesses make provision to support their employees and enable them to work remotely. In a number of jurisdictions, we are seeing quarantine areas to attempt to prevent the spread of the virus. Whilst employees may be on lockdown, they can still be productive and remain part of the team. With modern technology, remote working can provide substantial benefits to organisations that embrace and manage the process successfully. Tips on remote working can be found here.
- Travel – for areas considered a high threat such as Singapore, South Korea, Italy, Japan, Singapore and mainland China, we would suggest that employees do not travel. Other travel can continue as normal in most locations. We would recommend that you carefully plan your travel and take account of government advice relating to your destination. Where possible alternatives to physical travel – video meetings, calls and other forms of electronic communication – are preferred. In a constantly changing situation, we would urge you, in the first instance, to check out the advice on the applicable competent authority’s website of the country in which you or your operation is based. Or, in the case of your remote workforce, the country where they are located.
- Prevention – To reduce the risk of infection, make sure that good hand hygiene practices are followed, covering the hand and mouth when sneezing and coughing and avoiding where possible, contact with those visibly unwell. For more detailed and updated advice please see the World Health Organization’s current advice here. Not going into the office if you feel ill, particularly if you have symptoms of fever, cough and breathing difficulties. Employees who feel ill and who have recently returned from an ‘at-risk’ area should contact their local healthcare service and self-isolate until more detailed advice is given.
To enable our clients and employees to make the correct decisions for their situation, below is a register of competent authorities websites in our global locations and their current advice.
In the meantime, if you have specific questions relating to your global workforce please contact us or speak with your Account Manager.