COVID-19: Implications for business

The outbreak is moving quickly, and some of the perspectives in this article may fall rapidly out of date. This article reflects perspective as of March 30, 2020.

Companies need to think and act across 5 horizons

Collectively, these five stages represent the imperative of our time: the battle against COVID-19 is one that leaders today must win if we are to find an economically and socially viable path to the next normal.

Companies need to increase communication, balancing the needs of the business with expectation setting and morale building, so employees know that their well-being is top of mind. They also need to change working norms, making remote work practical and simple whenever possible. And of course, they must protect people’s health, with whatever measures are appropriate to the workplace: positive hygiene habits, personal protective equipment, amended sick-leave policies—whatever it takes to ensure health and safety.

Monitor leading indicators of how and where the pandemic is evolving and conduct scenario planning using both epidemiological and economic inputs.

Companies are responding to the pandemic with 5 sets of actions

Impact of physical-distancing measures.

We know that rigorous, at-scale physical-distancing measures can drive a significant reduction in the number of new COVID-19 cases. However, given the range of approaches in use—and the varying stringency with which they are being applied—there’s much still to learn about what exactly works and how long it takes. In the next one to two weeks, we will learn much more, as we begin to see evidence of the impact of physical distancing in Europe and the United States.

 

 

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