Amid major event cancellations and a 14-day nationwide closure of restaurants in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) said in a community post it will postpone its media conference, Decisions 20/20, to early 2021 and the Management Practitioners Forum to this fall. 

The organization also implemented new staff policies including a travel ban on domestic and international flights, mandatory work-from-home procedure for all its employees until further notice and a case-by-case approach to in-person events and training. Still, the 4A’s notes that agencies, “must make the best decisions for their employees and businesses.”

In the same post, the 4A’s shared a list of resources to inform business decisions during this time. This includes a survey conducted in partnership with 4A’s Research and Suzy on March 9 including 1,000 global consumers on their workplaces’ responses to coronavirus. Most (75 percent) of the respondents said their workplaces have communicated to them about coronavirus and the top three procedures employers are implementing include hand washing instructions/encouragement, increased cleaning and distribution of hand sanitizer. Thirty percent of respondents who work in urban areas said their employers have issued a mandatory work-from-home policy and 25 percent say it’s optional or at a manager’s discretion.

4A’s also linked to the PandemicEX Survey recently conducted by Forrester, which revealed that 53 percent of US working adults are afraid of the spread of coronavirus and 29 percent are afraid to go to work due to the risk of exposure. Additionally, nearly half of respondents think the coronavirus will disrupt their work life.

Another helpful resource shared by 4A’s: An MIT Sloan Management Review study that found quarantined Chinese areas saw a dip in manufacturing, evidenced by the decrease in nitrogen dioxide emissions. For example, in Hubei Province, emissions fell by 53 percent and in areas around Wuhan City, emissions fell by as much as 85 percent. MIT Sloan Management Review estimates this will equate to a loss of up to $215.6 billion to Chinese manufacturing from January 24-February 21 2020.

Using China’s response to the pandemic, MIT Sloan Management Review provides steps managers can take to mitigate the impact of coronavirus. These include allowing employees to telecommute, training your leaders, identifying employees who are most crucial to maintaining business continuity and developing a disaster scenario in the event of an emergency quarantine. 

Lastly, the 4A’s shared Q&A-style sample agency communications messaging for others to use, courtesy of two 4A’s members.