As all the countries across the world are trying to retaliate against the Coronavirus, let's analyze the scene in the United Arab Emirates.
Almost all 7 countries in the UAE are quiet, especially Saudi Arabia and Dubai. The spread of COVID-19 in the UAE means inbound and outbound travel restrictions to Saudi nationals as well as to the citizens of Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries. The UAE has suspended all flights to and from China, Iran, and Thailand since the outbreak. Screening all passengers arriving from affected regions have been done. Further, all schools and colleges in the UAE have been closed starting on 08 March 2020. People are working remotely without commuting in public transports and private vehicles. Events are being canceled and sports games postponed. While people are refraining from going out, only the food and drug delivery services continuing their normal operations.
As the situation is getting worse to worst, the coronavirus outbreak is tremendously damaging the UAE's economy. According to the latest reports, the coronavirus crisis forced companies from Real Estate and Hospitality to private tutoring schools and tourism companies to go under with debts running up to 1.2 billion Dirham in some cases.
“More than 63% of companies projected that COVID-19 would have a "negative impact on their business performance."
As we look to the future, unfortunately, we must face the consequences of the crisis. How can we overcome this challenge? What can each company, organization, and individual do in this time of crisis? Let's face the inevitability of preparing for the "post-corona" era. Here in this blog, we have explored some ways to get your business prepared for the post-coronavirus era.
Let's start it with;
We need to make up for the post-coronavirus world by changing the way we work, using remote working and moving the business online, to keep the economy running. Many of the tasks employees are doing now were not imagined even weeks ago. People are becoming crisis managers, sanitation monitors, and work-from-home co-ordinators. Coronavirus is providing us with another requirement to restructure how we work. It remains to be seen when and how tasks will settle, and whether these changes will hurt or help your workers.
You can develop and implement strategies that will help your business recover from not only Coronavius but from any crisis in the future. Your recovery strategies should demonstrate a clear understanding of your business's recovery objectives and reflect what the business needs to continue operating. Prioritise critical business functions and record a recovery time for each. This process will highlight the actions you should list in your recovery plan.
Nominate your staff including seniors to juniors to be part of the recovery team. You may assign backups and ensure that all are aware of their roles and functions in the recovery process. Your recovery team could be similar to an incident response team. Ensure that more than 1 person knows how to do a certain task and you don't risk losing essential skills or knowledge if something happens to one of your staff members.
Give training to your staff to use manual processes in case your online applications failed. If in the future you have to deal with contagious diseases or risky environments, you may need to provide training for your staff so that they can do their jobs safely and respond effectively after an incident. This will help you reduce the impact the crisis may have on your business and help you recover quickly. Also, think about other possible options for skill development through corporate training.
As part of your incident response plan, you should have developed an emergency back-up plan that includes key data and documents that will be essential for recovery. Make sure the emergency back-up is stored safely off-site in case your office premises are unreachable in a crisis.
Put together contact lists of all people who may be affected by the epidemic including staff, key customers and suppliers and your insurance company. You may need to let your customers and suppliers know of alternative methods of contacting you or placing orders and what to expect from your business in the event of a lengthy lockdown.
Keep the lines of communication open with your customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders such as business partners. Make sure that you have contact lists of all people who may be affected by the crisis/pandemic. Effective and timely communication will create and build the perception that your business is under control, that you know and understand what is happening, and that the situation will be resolved.
While the above measures help you to prepare your UAE business for the post-coronavirus era, the following measures will help keep your business ready to face any future crisis. Therefore, ensure that you keep the below points in mind when you restart business operations.
Develop relationships with more than 1 supplier, so that if one is affected your business can continue as usual.
Assess the impact of the crisis on your business and consider a range of business strategies to keep your business operating.
Be prepared for cash flow emergencies. Keep enough cash on hand to handle immediate needs and consider setting up internet banking services. Assess your processes to work out if you can reduce your operating costs.
Consider doing business online as this may allow you to operate even if your premises are affected.
Edupreneur, Founder & Managing Director
Sharafudhin Mangalad is the managing director of a chain of educational institutions in the UAE. With more than 10 years of experience in the education industry, he successfully runs Edoxi Training Institute in Dubai and Time Training Center Abu Dhabi.
He is a strategist and a leader able to steer the company to the most profitable direction while also implementing its vision, mission and long term goals. He always makes sure that his business continues to grow by identifying, developing and implementing the new strategies. He leads his team in alignment with the company's vision and values while preparing and implementing comprehensive business plans to facilitate achievement.