With many office-based companies required to work from home, it can be stressful trying to manage the business and at the same time protect their employees, customers, and interests.
Checking your insurance coverage should be priority number one. The most relevant policies to check for during the coronavirus include:
- Business interruption cover – to manage against unforeseen effects on your business.
- Portable equipment cover – for any items your employees need to take home to work.
- Contents insurance – while the office is empty, there’s a higher security risk and potential for burglaries.
- Credit insurance – although less common these days, it helps protect against the eventuality that customers who owe money for products or services do not pay their debts, or who pay them later than agreed.
Reducing unnecessary costs
While people are working remotely, there may be costs that can be reduced or removed entirely such as any food or drink deliveries and rented equipment. You could also speak to your office provider and potentially ask for a ‘rent holiday’ while the office is being unused.
Business Interruption Loan Scheme
Some governments at the national and local level are providing assistance. For example, the UK government is opening applications for a new interest-free Business Interruption Loan Scheme, as well as grants for the hospitality industry. If those are applicable to you, you should investigate further information as it becomes available, as these may be of great use for protecting your company during this period.
Chase outstanding invoices
Securing as much of your finances as possible is important during times of difficulty. If you have outstanding finances with customers or clients, you should be sure to chase them as soon as possible so you have a clear idea of what funds you have available.
While it is important to keep outgoing costs low, you need to plan for outgoing finances and should maintain a realistic idea of what you need in order to keep your business going or stable. Your employees may need support in order to work from home for example, such as devices that allow them to access the same functionality they would have in the office.
Communicate with your customers
Your customers are likely to be as uncertain as you during this unique time, so it’s vital that you manage expectations and discuss how you intend to proceed with your work (or how it will change). Try using video conferencing software to help maintain the benefits of a face to face relationship and increase the frequency of regular communication.
Related to the previous point, it may not be viable to continue with your normal process of work during this crisis. Review alternative methods of providing your usual service and have conversations with your clients and customers – as well as your employees – regarding potential changes, to work out the best solution for all parties.
Reinforce your digital security
As most employees will be working from home, it’s important to review your security policies regarding cyber threats. More communication will take place via digital means rather than in person, meaning that it’s more susceptible to attacks and invasions from hackers. Send reminders to your employees on correct procedures for preventing cyber threats and consider putting in place VPN and device monitoring software.
Monitor employee wellbeing
In order to maintain morale, you need to communicate with your employees regularly and ensure they have all the facilities they need to do their work and get through whatever trouble they might face personally.
Reinforce cleanliness and quarantine
A little less focused on the business side, it’s nonetheless vital to remind all of your employees about best health practices during the coronavirus, including washing their hands and social distancing. Keeping your employees healthy will support both them and your business.
Source: Insurance Business Canada