Bravely face the epidemic, resume work calmly
As enterprises start resuming work in various regions, they need to consider how to restart business operations amid ongoing epidemic prevention and control measures and ensure they can return to a normal, healthy work rhythm as soon as possible.
On 30 January, Deloitte issued an article exploring the past practices of multinational corporations in response to emergencies, making 10 recommendations for enterprises (click here). As a follow-up in response to the key points mentioned in the article, Deloitte recently published articles on "Import Duties Policy Analytics" (Simplified Chinese only) (click here) and "How to mitigate risk in the auto industry" (Simplified Chinese only) (click here), which provide references and recommendations for corporates from professional and industry perspectives.
Deloitte recommends that within a week before work resumes, companies should establish specific responsibilities during such a special period to ensure the calm resumption of work.
Board and senior management should stabilize employee morale and ensure flexible and correct decision-making
Board of Directors：
- Together with senior management, the board should evaluate possible major losses during the epidemic, predict and list major incidents the epidemic might cause.
- Based on the degree of loss, review the enterprise's annual plan and financial budget, promptly organize discussions among senior management about whether annual goals can be achieved, develop an adjustment plan on the basis of objective assessment results, and make reasonable estimates for next year's goals.
- Actively communicate with related shareholders, and promptly disclose fact-based information.
- Grant management appropriate authority promptly to flexibly deal with and decide various emergency matters in an outbreak situation.
- Immediately establish a core, cross-function team in response to the management during epidemic; continue to monitor the situation closely and actively cooperate with related regulatory requirements to collect and report relevant information promptly.
- Organize all departments of the enterprise to ascertain the business and management processes affected by the epidemic, assess the losses, and make measures to minimize these losses, as well as take responsibility for tracking and implementation. It is particularly important to clearly identify trigger events and metrics for initiating different levels of response actions.
- Ensure adequate communication both inside and outside the company, assist employees, customers, and other parties to understand the company's actions to enhance their understanding and confidence.
- Initiate assessment of budget objective and specific scenario analysis, and reasonably adjust business plans based on the results.
Finance department should assess the adequacy of treasury to provide protection for basic business operations:
- Immediately evaluate the financial impact of the epidemic. Fully analyze the impact on the company's cash flow forecast and capital chain, based on the current status of accounts receivable, inventory and working capital. Formulate an emergency financial forecast model, assess the risks to liquidity of treasury, predict possible gaps and reduce unnecessary cost. At the same time, if necessary, the company should seek support from government and financial institutions as early as possible.
- Report to management promptly and provide advice on possible delays in accounting and financial disclosures due to the epidemic.
- Communicate with management and business departments, provide advice on funding sources and use plans required for responses during the epidemic, and monitor the use of funds.
- Look into laws and regulations governing special periods, including advance consideration of tax impacts and seeking tax benefits.
HR department should maintain harmonious labor relations and ensure smooth communication:
- Cooperate with various departments to conduct personnel inventory, including of normal employees, interns, departing employees, temporary workers and outsourced labor; establish employee health files and obtain employee health information regularly.
- According to the requirements of the government and enterprise management, pay attention to employees' rights and obligations and related labor law issues; formulate related personnel policies and regulations in a timely manner, including working arrangements, employee attendance records, annual leave, salary and benefits, training and career development.
- Establish a communication mechanism for employees at all levels during the epidemic, quickly grasp the needs of employees and coordinate related resources to return to normal work rhythms; organize related training to ensure employees' mental health and transmit positive, optimistic information.
Information technology department should launch an information security emergency response plan to ensure stable operation:
- Assess the stability of existing information technology infrastructure and launch a remote information storage and backup system.
- Based on the status quo of the enterprise, for off-site office models, evaluate and expand telecommuting staff scope, plan and allocate related information resources in advance.
- Upgrade software and hardware devices that support remote offices, ensure technical communication links are maintained, and expand the scope of video conferencing. At the same time, consider establishing other communication methods, such as office software, always subject to strict monitoring of the transmission and sharing of business sensitive information.
- Establish a 7*24 hours remote/on-site duty system to ensure real-time monitoring of computer rooms, networks, systems, application operating conditions and resource use.
Business units should fully assess the impact of the outbreak and implement mitigation plans for key risks:
- Identify key businesses, evaluate the impact of the epidemic and the extent of this impact; develop the work recovery plan based on upstream and downstream communications; and consider establishing new strategic alliances to share benefits and effectively reduce risks.
- Evaluate the performance of existing contracts, and communicate with customers promptly to find ways to minimize losses and avoid customer attrition; assess the impact of regulatory/legal changes on existing and new contracts.
- Identify the company's key suppliers and service providers, evaluate the impact of the epidemic through active communication, and consider formulating alternative plans, including adjusting financial payment schedules and formulating multi-source procurement plans based on the level of business impact on the company.
- Coordinate and communicate with the upstream and downstream of the industry ecosystem in good time, and pay attention to potential business opportunities.
Logistics support department should provide sufficient anti-epidemic supplies to ensure a safe working environment：
- Provide anti-epidemic supplies for employees' use in the office (e.g. hand sanitizers, masks, paper towels, etc.); improve waste recycling arrangements (e.g. set up independent garbage collection points, etc.); develop workplace prevention and control policies (e.g. hand hygiene, cough etiquette, etc.).
- Strengthen the professionalism, standardization, and timeliness of cleaning staff according to the professional guidance of relevant health departments.
The above is Deloitte's suggestion for different levels and departments of enterprises where work will resume within one week. While planning to resume work soon, enterprises should work in a coordinated, methodical and proactive manner. After a storm comes a calm.