What is the real effect of the Coronavirus on business?

The news on the coronavirus outbreak are certainly concerning and global media keep bombarding us with information about the spread, the death toll and the negative effect on markets. However, how bad is the health situation which affecting the global economy compared to previous situations?

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention estimated that the death toll caused by influenza in the US alone increased from 38,000 in 2017 to 61,000 in 2018[1]. This is a 60% increase in a year and the news did not bring that information to us as it is currently delivered to us. Would you not be concerned?

Please do not get me wrong. I also follow the situation on the new virus. However, I observe that the media play a significant component on the hysteria without providing much guidance to how to respond to it. That being said, I do not think there is much business can do to help to reduce the impact of the media in people’s minds. But a business can and should maintain a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plan to cope with Black Swan[2] events. Preparedness is key and business can also provide their employees support to continue to maintain their focus on their personal lives and day to day business. Business can brainstorm and determine how should they support their operations and their employees if one of their peers must stay home to reduce the possibility of spreading the virus? Can you work from home? What if your supplies are delivered later than expected? Do you have enough bandwidth to continue to run the business with certain employees being out? You should also invite your employees to check the Centers of Disease Control and World Health Organization webpages to obtain accurate and official information and do not rely solely on the news.

These are some of the things that an organization can do to help their employees stay focus and reduce the tension caused by the current virus threat. Concentrate on action rather than worry and stress.

 

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html

[2] https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/blackswan.asp