The Coronavirus definitely gives a new meaning to when one says, “we live in uncertain times”. If you sort through the vast amount of articles written on the Coronavirus, then the stories are conflicting and one might even say that some media outlets are guilty of fear mongering. Do not get me wrong, we need to be prepared for the unknown and we cannot act as an ostrich with the head in the sand, but at the same time we cannot put our daily lives on hold, in order to hope that we cannot catch this virus.
This article is not to discuss the virus itself or if the handling of it was done correctly. This article is to discuss another aspect or better-said consequence of the virus and that was highlighted yesterday in the UK newspaper The Independent. In the article “Coronavirus will bankrupt more people than it kills – and that’s the real global emergency” written by Omar Hassan, Mr. Hassan hits the nail on the head by confronting us with the scary fact that governments only see the Coronavirus as a health issue, and fail to see this as an economic one as well.
Maybe with the speech Wednesday night given by US President Donald Trump about banning travel from most of Europe for 30 days due to the Coronavirus, other governments will finally wake-up and realize there is also a worrisome economic crisis evolving. For those who follow the stock market, The Wall Street Journal reported (ast 8 AM EST yesterday) that “Futures linked to the DJIA dropped roughly 5% and contracts linked to the S&P 500 index hit the daily 5% trading limit as crude-oil prices dropped and investors poured into U.S. government bonds on worries about the coronavirus’s economic toll.” The S&P 500 Futures dropped sharply Wednesday night at the start of President Trump’s speech. Was the President right in taking this decision? That is not for this author to say, but I can definitely appreciate the logic behind it.
The question remains, what will your country do to counter the economic effects caused by this virus. With the airlines cutting flights and even the National Basketball Association in the US suspending the season, will your economy survive this virus? How will a country help their people through a potential economic crisis?
But let’s take it to the micro-level. What will employees do to pay their debt if the company they work for cannot survive the economic effects of this virus? I believe that it would be a dereliction of duty for any company not to address these (potential) issues with their employees.
So here is some food for thought. As an employer, you have (I am assuming) taken those steps to try to keep your employees safe from a health perspective. If you have not, perhaps now would be a good idea to do so.
Of equal importance, as an employer you should now come up with a contingency plan to counter the potential devastating economic effect of this virus on your company. Think about how to ensure the survival of your company, but also what can be done to help your employees who will be financially affected.
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By Darin Crouch