The rapid spread of the coronavirus throughout the world has presented boards with very particular challenges, including the question of how the board will itself confer at a time where travel is increasingly made more difficult due to restrictions. From Italy to Israel, conversations about secure remote working have disrupted working processes within corporates, especially with regards to their executive leadership. The prospect of remote working with disrupt normal work patterns for everyone within organisations as uncertainty abounds. However, it is also imperative to establish different and more cohesive ways of working to ensure that teams can stay focused and up to date.
GOOD GOVERNANCE MATTERS MORE THAN EVER
It is fair to state that businesses across the globe are unnerved. In the U.S. research experts who study the economic fallout of catastrophes have estimated that globally $1.5 trillion could be lost to the disease. Corporate casualties have already assimilated; notably British airline Flybe and Japanese cruise ship operator Luminous Cruising, have declared bankruptcy.
On March 2nd the OECD published their own assessment of the anticipated economic risks with their report stating that if a ‘longer lasting and more intensive coronavirus throughout the Asia Pacific region, Europe and North America’ could mean that ‘global growth drops to 1 ½ per cent in 2020’. In short, the world economy is confronting its greatest threat since the 2008 downturn.
It seems that aggressive steps are essential to protecting businesses and their employees from the ensuing corona-crisis, with good governance more imperative than ever.
PRACTICAL TIPS FOR THE BOARD
The coronavirus will undoubtably force board members to work remotely. It will also require board members to adopt a thorough risk oversight approach to consider key areas that will be affected.
Be Transparent: Everyone from the top to bottom within the organisation is bound to be feeling anxious and insecure about what will happen. Executives and especially board members need to be clear and concise with management about risk and define a thorough emergency plan that reflects different outcomes during this crisis. Employee safety is paramount, and the emergency plan should reflect this, e.g. clear remote working outlines and hand hygiene guides should be clear and available to everyone.
Communicate Clearly: Board members need to be very clear about the bad news that may ensue from this crisis. They need to spell out clearly what is expected of everyone, from fellow board members who are keeping an eye on financial risks to human resources. Board members, management and staff can expect to feel pulled in many directions because of the number of changes and challenges that they are encountering as the crisis develops. Changing priorities should be clearly outlined by management and board members so time must be invested in harmonised and human communication. Rising tensions can be soothed with clear communication, prioritised tasks and goals. Using digital tools, like DiliTrust Exec, can facilate clear dialogue with fellow board members remotely.
Go Digital: Starbucks, the American coffee giant, have just announced along with thousands of other businesses that their upcoming annual shareholder meeting will be held this month via digital means. Exceptional circumstances like the coronavirus mean that the benefits of digitising board meetings have never been more apparent. AGMs, board meetings and important shareholder events should adopt a digital approach in the event that many of these highly important meetings cannot be cancelled. Board members and executive committees can continue to plan, prepare and communicate with other board members via the DiliTrust Exec board portal. Flexibility is everything during a crisis and so our SaaS software which is ready-to-go and available upon subscription can be quickly adopted by your board, thanks to our dedicated 24/7 client support service which offers unlimited training. Board members can benefit during this disruptive time of a user-friendly tool which supports remote working and enhanced communication.
Give a thought to security: For board members who are busy facing this crisis, their time spent overviewing cybersecurity risks is diminished. However, during this particularly vulnerable time, cyberattacks are particularly unwelcome. Board members should use trusted and secure digital tools, like DiliTrust, which is GDRP compliant and ISO 27001 certified. Board members can work quickly and efficiently in the knowledge that their confidential documentation is secure. To find out more information about how secure the DiliTrust Exec board portal is, please contact a member of our team today.