Now that a case of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in The Bahamas, Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation Jeffrey Beckles told Guardian Business yesterday that businesses in the country are now faced with the prospect of working with fewer employees because of illness, or working with their employees remotely.
Beckles said while something like COVID-19 could not be anticipated, all businesses should have in place, a business continuity plan that would allow them to survive the shock that this virus now presents to The Bahamas’ economy.
“This is a changing and evolving circumstance,” said Beckles.
“Businesses really need to work hard and be diligent about their business continuity plans. We’re going to find more and more employees being asked to work from home where possible. Some key employees will need to come in.
“I think the advice that was given by the Central Bank the other day really speaks to the fact that we don’t know what to expect, so we need to be prudent. Everybody has to be prepared to be compliant with the preventative protocols.
“We just have to batten down, prepare ourselves as best we can and rely on our trusted professionals to give us guidance.”
Beckles contended that given the nature of the virus and how rapid it spreads through communities, employers’ biggest challenge will be learning to work with fewer employees.
He said businesses should have put technology plans in place to contend with the likelihood of business interruption from the likes of hurricanes or otherwise.
“With this COVID virus, I may have to adjust my business to work with fewer and fewer employees because I need more of my employees to stay away from the core business.
“I have to adjust my plan to determine how best I can work with fewer employees because now I have to rely on them to work remotely.
“We should be using technology in support of our businesses… These are the kinds of things that we [BCCEC] continue to espouse on an everyday level when the sun is shining and everything is great; we do that because inevitabilities like the COVID virus may show up.”
Beckles reiterated that COVID-19 will “change forever the way we look at doing business” and highlights the need for businesses to pay more attention, be more innovative and learn from disasters like Hurricane Dorian.