As coronavirus spreads, how should employers respond?

The virus continues its grim march around the world, but panic is not in anyone’s interest. Here’s how communicators should respond.

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How should employers address concerns swirling around the seemingly inexorable spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus?

How much information is too much? What do we tell employees? Should everyone still come into the office?

Communication around an emerging global pandemic is key to calm fears. There is most certainly a wrong way to go about it (“Everybody panic!”). Let’s review current facts, crisis communication basics as well as level-headed tips for mitigating coronavirus-specific concerns.

Where we are now

Worldwide infections have risen to nearly 83,000, but the majority of those (more than 78,600) are in China. There are 60 confirmed cases of U.S. citizens and 10 in Canada. As for the rest of our hemisphere, Brazil has reported Latin America’s first (and only) confirmed coronavirus case thus far. And yes, it continues to spread, and the virus poses a serious concern for employers in every industry.

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