'NO one has a playbook' for business WORKING through a virus outbreak :

The challenges faced by workplaces have become a new front in the battle against the coronavirus. While factories in China had already been closed by the outbreak and are now just ramping back up, global white-collar companies have rarely grappled with this scale of disruption - or the level of fear that has gripped workers.

'No one has a playbook,'' said Dan Levin, who runs a small comp[any outside Chicago, Cain Millwork, which makes furniture and wall paneling. He said he was planning to have some of his employees work from home.

At Facebook, the questions from spooked employees came thick and fast. The evening before, the social network had disclosed that the coronavirus had been diagnosed in a contractor in its Seattle office and had said all employees in that city should work from home until March 31.

Other Facebook employees, some of whom had recently traveled for work, began asking their managers and one another in the past week : Who was the contractor? Had that person been near them? And what did that mean for their work?

That same alarm has spread through other companies around the world, despite escalating efforts by many of them to deal with disruptions from the coronavirus outbreak that started in China.

Microsoft, Amazon, Ford Motor, CNN Citigroup and Twitter have put employees through work -from-home drills, dusted-off emergency-response plans and ordered increasingly stringent safety measures to protect their workers.

Even so, the coronavirus has moved faster than their preparations. Amazon said in the past week that two employees in Europe, who had been in Milan, part of the northern Italian hot spot for the coronavirus, were infected and that one employee of its Seattle headquarters had tested positive.

HSBC said recently, that the coronavirus had been diagnosed in an employee at its global headquarters in London. And AT&T said a retail employee at one of its stores in San Diego had tested positive.

Many corporate memos, including those from facebbook's announcement on Wednesday and another from HSBC, now mention deep cleaning of offices and self-quarantining.

Face-to--Face job interviews have been all but banned by some companies, in favor of interviews conducted by teleconference.

Microsoft - which is based in Redmond, Wash., a Seattle suburb adjacent to Kirkland, where a cluster of coronavirus cases accounted for for many of the  deaths in the United States - recently announced that the coronavirus had been diagnosed in two Seattle-area employees.

''The affected employees remain in quarantine, and we are supporting them as they recover,'' Kurt DelBene, an executive vice president at the company said in an email to employees obtained by The Times.

The Honor and serving of the latest global operational research on ''Quarantines and Office Cleaning.'' continues. The World Students Society thanks authors Mike Isaac, David Yaffe-Ballany and Karen Weise.


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