Managing Your Business’s Response to COVID-19
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Guidance on navigating your business through these unprecedented times.

The emergence of the coronavirus pandemic is affecting many Americans, and particularly small business owners as the nation’s response efforts are having a dramatic impact on the economy. Businesses will be challenged as they face closure of offices and store fronts, reduced consumer demand, and potentially increased fraud schemes.

Consider these actions and resources to help protect your business, prepare for the continuing federal stay-at-home guidelines, and potentially give back to your community in these unprecedented times.

Reacting Accordingly

The sudden and dramatic shift of the U.S. workforce has prompted many business leaders to reprioritize. Workers who haven’t developed routines to effectively work remotely or who are struggling with morale could benefit from increased communication and guidance.

Consider having regular check-in meetings with your teams. Speak to both the business and personal side of these circumstances. Make it clear to your employees how you are providing for both their physical and emotional well-being. If you are able to do things like allow flexible schedules so that your employees may take care of their families or if you can provide sanitary supplies, let your employees know. Lay out your expectations moving forward and be open to feedback.

Additionally, outline how your business will respond at an organizational level. While leaders will certainly have to make challenging decisions, provide your employees with as much transparency and information as possible. Dispelling as much uncertainty and confusion as you can may keep your workers’ morale and productivity from falling.

Doing your best to organize and coordinate your team could be essential in keeping your business healthy through these times. Remember, you can also use external resources and services for assistance. For instance, remote access tools that allow your workers to access your business’s servers or use a virtual desktop could help employees transition more smoothly to remote work. Additionally, instant messaging and workflow organization software might increase the flow and speed of information between you and your employees. Many businesses are also turning to video conferencing to find deeper or more thorough communication than email alone.

Preparing your Business

If you foresee your business struggling with cash flow, payroll, rent, or other bills, review the resources from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). They are offering a number of loans to support affected businesses and provide working capital to help them overcome the economic slump.

The CDC has also published guidance for business owners on maintaining a healthy work environment and healthy business operations during the global response. The organization advises implementing flexible leave and work arrangements for employees, preparing to change processes or suppliers, and considering how your business will operate if a portion of your employees become sick. Preparing as a business owner may not only help your business continue functioning, it could also directly help reduce spread of the disease.

Protecting your Business

In addition to preparing your business for potential financial impacts and new processes, take steps to protect your business from those looking to take advantage of the turmoil this health crisis has created.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has begun actively monitoring and disclosing scams that have emerged amid the confusion and fear of the COVID-19 outbreak. While many of these scams target individuals, some criminals are targeting businesses, both small and large. Plus, with many employees working from home, computers or laptops may be more vulnerable than when connected to a business network with additional security. Remind your team of the importance of cybersecurity during this time.

COVID-19-specific scams may include fake emails purporting to come from reputable sources like the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These messages often ask for Social Security numbers, tax information, or direct readers to click a button to download a document or navigate to a site. Remind your team not to reply or click on links in these emails. In a related scheme, criminals may pose as a member of a business’s executive or IT team and direct employees to provide information or download something as well.

Criminals may also pretend to offer government aid to businesses in return for sensitive data or information. Research government assistance for your business on your own.

Supporting

If you feel your business is adequately prepared for and protected from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, you might consider looking for ways to support your community.

Given the sudden surge in demand for health services, the healthcare systems in the U.S. are being heavily strained. If your business has any extra inventory of cleaning supplies or personal protection equipment (such as sterile gloves, masks, or goggles), consider donating them to the people working on the front line. Some businesses with the manufacturing equipment and the capabilities have even pivoted to producing these essential supplies and more.

You may also decide to support local or national charities that are battling the spread of the disease and caring for those affected with donations or volunteers. Resources like Charity Navigator can help you find organizations to support.

Ultimately, the future of the economy is uncertain, and it will be closely related to the continuing spread of the disease and the efficiency of the nation’s response. The lifestyle changes people have made to combat COVID-19 may also lead to shifts in consumer behavior. Demand may not immediately return, or consumers might continue to show preference to online shops and services. While we all take measures to combat the disease, ensure your business forms a response team and discuss what your goals are after the health crisis and how you will get there.

Visit Regions COVID-19 response page for valuable information and resources.

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This information is general in nature and is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice. Although Regions believes this information to be accurate, it cannot ensure that it will remain up to date. Statements or opinions of individuals referenced herein are their own—not Regions'. Consult an appropriate professional concerning your specific situation and irs.gov for current tax rules. Regions, the Regions logo, and the LifeGreen bike are registered trademarks of Regions Bank. The LifeGreen color is a trademark of Regions Bank.