Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve most likely heard about the new coronavirus (COVID-19) and the surrounding hype. This hype has lead to some issues, including a national hand sanitizer shortage, thousands of canceled travel plans, and in some areas, a fear of going out in public.
While it’s true that the flu still remains a greater threat to those of us in the US than the coronavirus, its movement is being tracked much more carefully. The outbreak started in China and they are reporting the highest incidents with over 80,000 cases, but 109 countries, including the US, are reporting infected people and deaths from the virus.
Something you might want to consider is how the coronavirus will affect you and your credit union. The stock market and global business have taken strong hits from the virus, which could mean trouble for any business, including credit unions. Furthermore, if people in your community get sick and are quarantined, you could be facing possible staffing issues. In a perfect world, everyone would have business continuity plans to cover these issues, but in the case you don’t let’s look at some preventive and proactive steps.
Prevention is essential
To be proactive and decrease the possible spread of the virus, it is good to educate yourself on the issue and what cautionary measures you could or should take. The coronavirus presents the affected with similar symptoms of the flu: respiratory issues, coughing, runny nose, fatigue, fever, etc.
Here are some preventative measures you can take:
If an infected person did visit your credit union, those preventative measures mentioned above, along with proper cleaning of the facility, will help to eliminate the spread of the virus.
Look to your business continuity plan
So, if you and staff are following the recommendation to stay home if sick, what do you do when staff members don’t come to work? How many staff members do you need to keep the branch up and running? Ideally, pandemic planning and shortage of staff are both things you have thought about and planned for as part of your business continuity plan. If not, two strategies for possible staffing issues could be:
If employee absences becomes an issue, the PTO policy may need to be revisited given the circumstances of the pandemic virus and lack of leniency for coming into work while feeling sick.
Overall, the coronavirus too shall pass. It will most likely go down in books like SARS, avian flu, etc. It does present you with a great opportunity to visit your pandemic and business continuity plans for improvements. Use it to build up the resiliency in your credit union operations.
Great start. This whole crisis is a “learning experience”. Everything is closed or postponed in our daily lives. Social distancing undermines our ability to build community morale. In the absence of real time communications and sharing then fear or panic can fill the void. We need to have new ways of being good neighbors for our members, and community and the coop system.
So start a daily Zoom broadcast for updates and learnings that everyone can tune into to share the learning opportunity this circumstance requires.