Coronavirus Update

Protecting employees, ensuring business continuity and securing your records

On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus (aka 2019-nCov) to be a public health emergency on an international level.

While the majority of confirmed cases of 2019-nCov are found in China, there have been other cases reported internationally, the majority of which are in Asia. Many countries such as Russia, the U.K, the United States, Philippines & Singapore have either closed their land borders or introduced bans on those who have come from or transited through mainland China and/or other affected countries. In certain cases, such as India, e-visas issued to Mainland Chinese nationals have been declared null and void.

Background

Crown is a global company headquartered in Hong Kong with over four thousand employees and dozens of offices located within the APAC region alone, giving us a unique local view along with our global perspective as we closely monitor this very fluid situation. We draw from information we are gathering from a variety of sources, including our global corporate clients, our network of supplier partners, Crown’s extensive team on the ground in China, across the APAC region, along with internal Crown experts around the globe.

We encourage you and your company to continue to communicate your questions and to share experiences and best practices with your Crown team and industry peers as the situation evolves, to better ensure that your concerns are addressed. Crown will provide updates along the way.

Common business protocols being implemented

A growing number of companies are putting in place general rules and guidelines related to travel, facilities, communication and employee education, both within Asia the rest of the World. Some of the travel rules are determined by emerging government restrictions in response to the situation.

  • Formalizing coordination within companies between Global Security and Safety and Risk Management teams with representatives from HR, Corporate Communications, Facilities and Executive Leadership to establish a response team and ensure business continuity, employee safety and clarity in actions being taken and communicated.
  • Educating employees to follow guidelines provided by local health authorities to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Increasing travel restrictions into and out of China – nonessential travel to the region is prohibited; companies have set up warnings on their designated travel booking sites; when business travel into the impacted region is deemed necessary, approvals from senior leaders required.
  • Restricting travel between provinces within China.
  • Keeping offices and facilities clean and hygienic and make necessary arrangements including flexible working hours and/or work from home for employees with roles that allow for that situation.
  • Shipping masks and other protection to your offices where there is a shortage of supplies (communicate with local HR and offices first, to see if this is needed).

Crown’s Business Continuity Plan

Crown’s primary concern will always be the safety and wellbeing of our employees, customers and business partners. Basic personal hygiene measures are being reinforced with our employees and external service providers to minimize potential influenza transmission.

Like most of our clients, Crown’s business activities require compliance with government-enforced safety measures, restrictions and requirements in whichever country we operate. Due to some organizational directives from our corporate clients as noted above, we are seeing a decrease in the need for services based on strict quarantine guidelines and varying factors. Having said that, Crown has its resources in place to conduct “business as usual” with preventative measures as noted below.

At this difficult time, we want to ensure absolute transparency. Crown have prepared an up to date Pandemic Plan. If you require a copy of this, please reach out to your local Account Manager.

Steps include

  • Restrict workplace entry of people with influenza symptoms.
  • Practice good personal hygiene and workplace cleaning habits.
  • Increase social distancing (e.g. enable work from home options, avoid face-to-face contact).
  • Manage any staff who become ill at work.
  • Manage staff who travel overseas.

As the situation is fluid, we will reassess when the Chinese New Year holidays conclude to incorporate any additional steps that may be needed. We will keep individuals and their organizations informed on any changes to timelines.

Additional precautions Crown is taking include asking employees to minimize contact with others

Notices are being posted at all Crown facility entry points, advising staff and visitors not to enter if they have influenza symptoms.  Employees are advised not to come to work when they are feeling unwell, particularly if they are exhibiting any symptoms. Workers who become ill will be instructed to stay at home until symptoms are resolved.  We will ensure that any ill employees have completed the required quarantine period and are healthy before allowing them to return to work.

  • Avoiding meeting people face to face – use the telephone, email and chat platforms as much as possible – even when participants are in the same building.
  • Avoiding any unnecessary travel and cancelling or postponing non-essential meetings.
  • Where possible, arrange for employees to work from home or work variable hours to avoid crowding at the workplace.
  • Avoiding public transport where possible: walk, cycle, drive a car or go early or late to avoid rush hour crowding on public transport.
  • Encouraging the bringing of lunch and eating away from others (avoid the cafeteria and crowded restaurants). Introduction of staggered lunchtimes so numbers of people in the lunch room are reduced.
  • Not congregating in tearooms or other areas where people socialize.
  • If a face-to-face meeting with people is unavoidable, minimize the meeting time, choose a large meeting room and sit at least one meter away from each other if possible; avoid shaking hands. Consider holding meetings in the open air.
  • Encouraging staff to avoid recreational or other leisure classes / meetings etc. where they might meet infectious people.