Managing the Covid-19 outbreak from a company perspective
The Covid-19 has been officially recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a pandemic on March 11th 2020. This has led to several sanitary measures and socioeconomic disruptions throughout the world, with direct impacts on the business environment, including in Poland. The below tips from Mazars are dedicated to Polish and international companies facing organizational challenges and looking for practical business advices in the context of the coronavirus disease:
1. Crisis management: create emergency working groups coordinating the plan of actions within the firm
- Establish a crisis management structure with a cross-functional steering committee having the ability to make quick decisions.
- Create working groups consisting among others of key representatives of the Management Board and operational departments, the Human Resources department, the IT department, the Finance Department, the Risk Management and the Marketing & Communication department. They should interact on a daily basis.
- Need to review existing internal policies, procedures and response plans to adapt them to the Covid-19 emergency context and to ensure resilience, protection and business continuity in accordance with staff and clients’ expectations.
2. Human resources: prioritize people resilience and protection
- Educate employees on COVID-19 symptoms and prevention.
- Ensure frequent sanitisation of common areas (including door handles, lift buttons).
- Secure infection control supplies such as hand soap / sanitisers.
- Impose restrictions concerning business trips and face-to-face meetings with clients or job candidates engaged in a recruitment process, replacing them by conference calls.
- Impose a 2-week self-quarantine to any employee having been abroad, having had contacts with someone who travelled in one of the “high risk countries” or who is showing Covid-19 symptoms.
- Implement remote working when possible, using laptops and VPN accesses.
- Ensure that the company is aware of the working status of each employee (remote working or not), with up-to-date home contact details.
- Check staff insurance coverage for the Covid-19 related context.
- Ensure that employment tax, social and legal obligations will be also fulfilled even while working remotely.
3. Business continuity: redefine a strategy to ensure safe service delivery in due time
- Ensure that IT infrastructure can manage large scale remote access.
- Ensure personal data and client data protection, with up-to-date backups and secured copies.
- Organize webinars instead of conferences, business breakfasts and other promotional events.
- Use of Microsoft Teams / Skype as business tools for team communication and share screening.
- Properly manage the virtual teams through short daily briefings to monitor the projects and related staffing.
- Guide team leaders on how they could manage their staff online.
- Frequent phone interactions within the teams to solve the major issues.
- Understand which projects are mission-critical and what can be deferred or deprioritized.
- Establish client support procedures and hotlines for potential external inquiries.
- Keep watching the market for business opportunities and anticipate the post-Covid 19 recovery period.
4. Finance: respond to the immediate and middle-term challenges
- Analyse how your business plans, cash-flow, working capital requirements and other key ratios will be impacted.
- Review cash-flow projections on a weekly basis and run scenario analysis to map the potential performance and cash-flow outcomes, modelling varying degrees of business interruption.
- Revisit the variable costs to reduce cash outflows.
- Convert the fixed costs to variable costs when possible.
- Measure the Covid-19 impact on financial statements completion and audit opinions.
- Assess if selected company investments will need to be delayed, and if yes, which ones.
- Secure adequate funding and banking facilities to manage the potential consequences of the Covid-19.
5. Communication: have a transparent strategy towards stakeholders
Communication towards the company’s staff:
- Ensure that the employees are aware of the crisis management structure and related internal working groups.
- Keep the employees informed about the latest Covid-19 updates within the firm.
- Have an interactive and responsive internal communication including social media response plans.
Communication towards clients and external stakeholders:
- Have frequent interactions with each stakeholder to monitor the business relation and the potential challenges related to service delivery.
- Inform the stakeholders about your company’s response to the Covid-19 to maintain their confidence.
- Review your social media policy and guidelines. Make sure your social media policy is properly defined for this crisis. Ensure that the key messages are aligned with the company’s culture and communication requirements.
- Redirect landline numbers to mobile numbers for key services (reception desk, accounting…).
6. Government support policies, subsidies and incentives to be monitored
- Ensure compliancy with new public health requirements and other Government announcements concerning the companies.
- Monitor potential governmental support and available subsidies.
- Prioritise if and how your business can benefit from government interventions, as well as newly introduced bank facilities.
- As the landscape of government support and bank policy changes frequently, have an advisor who can help you understand how this may help your business for tax, payroll, accounting, social, financial and legal purposes.
GET IN TOUCH WITH MAZARS POLAND’S COVID-19 DEDICATED WORKFORCE
If you have any potential concern about your business in Poland during this time of uncertainty, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Mazars Poland’s Covid-19 dedicated business advisory workforce to check how we can support you.