Coronavirus general advice and guidance
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has developed into a global challenge. Individuals are impacted by human consequences, and businesses and economies are experiencing the knock-on effect.
What as a business can you be doing to minimise the risk and disruption?
As a first step it would be sensible to familiarise yourself with Government guidance for employers and ensure you are reviewing updates on a regular basis.
Implementing processes and communicating effectively with a view to protecting employees, visitors and close associations.
Simple steps include;
• making sure there are clean places to wash hands with hot water and soap, and encourage everyone to wash their hands regularly
• providing hand sanitiser and tissues for staff, and encourage them to use them
• keeping everyone updated on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace
• making sure everyone's contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date
• making sure managers know how to spot symptoms of coronavirus and are clear on any relevant processes, for example sickness reporting and sick pay, and procedures in case someone in the workplace develops the virus
• considering if any business travel planned to affected areas is essential
Planning in advance for potential scenarios could help your business navigate substantial challenges should (as now seems very likely) this current outbreak become a more widespread problem.
Maintaining business operations – the people considerations
Whilst many businesses are now closed or have the majority of their workforce working remotely, some must continue whilst managing social distancing. The nature of a business’ operations will likely determine the risk factors facing its employees. Completing a risk assessment can help in identifying any particular sources of risk, including staff who may be at greater risk. It is important to then consider what can be done to mitigate any risks identified.
Many businesses are already distributing factual advice regarding the virus, as well as sharing practical advice in relation to good hygiene – supplying appropriate equipment/facilities where possible.
Planning how to handle the quarantine of employees and the effect of increased absences is a sensible step in pro-actively managing potential impacts on your business.
How can we adapt our processes for signing legal documents if our directors / board members are working from home?
We are commonly being asked this question and it is something that needs to be considered on a case by case basis.
Although not common practice, you can, in some circumstances, authorise another person to sign a contract on your behalf. However, documents to be executed as a deed, such as leases and property transfers, cannot be delegated to another person unless there is a formal power of attorney in place.
In the current situation, a power of attorney is unlikely to significantly speed up the process unless yours is a small company where the number of available signatories are few and a prolonged period of unavailability is expected.
We suggest you consider which people within your organization are best placed to sign and return documents so papers can be sent to them as required.
Your articles of association may set out specific requirements for signature of documents, or this may be agreed by a standing order/resolution of the board. If you are unsure of your internal processes, please get in touch and we can help.
Useful external guidance
Useful external guidance
For help and support during the Coronavirus Pandemic please visit our support hub, or contact a member of our dedicated team.
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