Coronavirus and Directors’ Responsibilities

A company director is responsible for setting direction and strategy, which includes risk assessment and minimisation, as well as business continuance.

Coronavirus will impact every NZ business – whether by disruption of supply chains (e.g. importers), disruption to demand (e.g. hospitality and tourism), or disruption to the workforce.  Ensuring economic survival as well as the health and safety for staff and customers is the duty of every director, CEO and business owner.

Practical measures to consider include:

  • Internal Communication – talk with your team regularly about health and safety in relation to the Coronavirus threat
  • Hygiene – review your workplace facilities to minimise risks
  • Continuance –processes and procedures if staff self-isolate or cannot come to work
  • External Communication – explain to your customers and suppliers how you will ensure continued service and supply, and any planned changes to your processes
  • Information – stay up to date with reliable information, while avoiding hysteria or denial.

Experts are predicting that we are just at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, and that it could be two years before the threat is “over”.  World stock markets are reacting, economists are predicting a recession, and some businesses will be hit particularly hard.   It could be an extended and bumpy ride.

It is possible, and perhaps likely, that our response to Coronavirus will change some business practices in the medium to long term, and those changes may outlast the virus threat itself.

The Coronavirus pandemic is something none of us have had to deal with before.  While it is a serious threat, it may also be an opportunity for some businesses to innovate, re-engineer, or reinvent themselves.

“This is actually a coronavirus winter, and we’re in the first week”.  CNN, Mar 10, 2020

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