COVID-19: getting ready for the corporate reboot!

Susanne Hofmann Data Protection Officer, PwC Switzerland and Liechtenstein 06 Apr 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit us all unexpectedly, and our worries and uncertainties are fueled by this unusual situation. But when the storm is over and the dust settles, we have the future. Even a pandemic has an expiry date. 

Under these exceptional circumstances, senior executives faced tough business decisions, amid ad hoc government actions to manage the crisis. While actions related to immediate business continuity are necessary and vital, carefully considering the subsequent corporate reboot is critical to stay ahead of competitors.

We strongly recommend senior executives to prepare for the restart. Carefully managing the transition from business continuity mode to business as usual is key to success.

We trust that the following three topics will take centre stage to allow business to move back to normal.

Employee affairs
  • The pandemic’s speed had a profound effect on HR procedures related to employee health and safety. To keep up with the dynamic situation many companies have started to collect (additional) health data related to their employees.
  • This situation may even pick up as organisations move back to office spaces. Understanding relevant labour legislation, assessing privacy laws and observing new government recommendations and regulations will be necessary to define legally sound as well as acceptable measures to mitigate health risks for employees and clients.
  • Winning your employees’ approval for those measures will be key to a smooth transition back to office and client work.
Compliance management
  • The coronavirus pandemic had a profound effect on international trade and availability of goods. Thus, the current situation fosters competition for suppliers as well as a surge in companies acting or pretending to act as intermediaries.  
  • As the economy reboots, companies are likely to shift or seek new trading partners. This entails substantial compliance risks.
  • Finally, companies sourcing healthcare-related products have to address corruption and fraud risks due to a surge in illicit intermediaries as well as new export compliance requirements.
Communications and trust
  • Inevitably, the reboot will require companies to communicate complex issues to employees and clients on health and safety and new compliance actions. It is crucial to be proactive as well as responsive to prevent fear, rumours and misunderstandings.
  • Moving back to business, tough questions may come from your employees and clients, posing substantial reputational risks.
  • Providing solid and firm statements and a clear direction is necessary for senior management to perform and to enable employees to go back to normal.

The earlier you address these topics, the quicker you can refocus on your core business. We are here as a flexible and trustworthy partner even under exceptional circumstances. 


Contact us

Susanne Hofmann

Susanne Hofmann

Data Protection Officer, PwC Switzerland and Liechtenstein

Tel: +41 58 792 17 12

Ivana Vidakovic

Ivana Vidakovic

Co-Head of Employment Law, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 4764