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Coronavirus: Be Prepared From a Work Perspective

Posted on February 28, 2020
Image of a doctor's mask and the words "be Prepared" underneath

I’ve been thinking a great deal about the coronavirus over the past few days – and likely so have you – how can you not with the stock market plunging, the continuous news feed, and the water cooler talk. Now, I am not a medical professional, so I am not writing about the coronavirus from a medical perspective. There are plenty of resources out there, such as the CDC, WHO, etc. to provide information about symptoms, prevention, and virus progression. Today, I’m writing about being prepared from a work perspective.

There is a great deal of uncertainty regarding the potential progression of this virus. Officials do believe it is a matter of when the virus spreads to the United States, but we still don’t know how severe it might be, how many people could be infected, or how fast it might progress. What we do know is that if it does spread quickly, it will have a significant impact or disruption to our lives, including work. Knowing this, it is important to be prepared.

This is not meant in any way to replace contingency plans your employer likely has. And it is important to follow those guidelines and requirements. But your company may be small or a larger company many not yet have enacted any pandemic protocols (as it is too early for that), but that doesn’t mean you can’t do certain things to prepare in case one is enacted because if one is, it will likely mean you have to move fast. So, why not be thoughtful and get things in order now, so if a pandemic protocol is enacted and you are required to work from home for an extended period of time, you are not scrambling at the last minute.

So, how can you prepare now for what might or might not happen in the future? Here are key things you can do:

Save Needed Files to the Cloud

This way you can access these documents from anywhere when you need them.

Scan Any Paper Files You May Need (only what is necessary) and Save to the Cloud

Again, you don’t want to be scanning 100 documents at the last minute and you want to have access to them, should you be out of the office for an extended period.

Computer Equipment

If you have a work laptop, make sure programs and operating systems are up-to-date, make sure you have a portable charger, etc.

Determine Internal Systems Limitations

Understand what systems may not be accessible from your laptop and discuss work arounds with your team.

Have a Message Prepared for Clients

Scrambling is not a good approach. Have a prepared message to send too clients, so they do not panic. It can always be tweaked.

Again, I want to reiterate – these suggestions are not to replace protocols your company puts forth; instead they are meant to help you before any official protocols are announced to make a workplace transition, such as working from home for an extended period of time, less stressful because you are being proactive versus reactive.

There is no doubt the next couple of months, while the virus progression is being monitored, will be uncertain. The more you can do to keep your anxiety and your team’s anxiety at bay, the better off you will be in the event this virus spreads quickly and drastic measures are enacted.

Let’s hope the Coronavirus does not get the upper hand.


Anne Converse Willkomm
Assistant Clinical Professor
Department Head
Goodwin College
Drexel University
Posted in innovation-workplace, leadership-management-skills