Roy Gilbert

As coronavirus spreads in US, employers gear up for massive work-from-home experiment

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(NEW YORK) — As the U.S. braces for possible wider spread of the novel coronavirus, health officials are warning business leaders to make preparations for managing a workforce that can’t come into the workplace.

“We’re trying to figure out how to keep the business going when people can’t get to the office,” Peter Cappelli, a professor of management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and the director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources, told ABC News.

“My sense is the first thing that will happen, and the most likely thing is that it’s not that all your employees will be too sick to work, it’s that they won’t be in the office,” he added.

Coronavirus has already delivered a heavy blow to the business sector, sending global financial markets reeling and bringing economic activity in China — the epicenter of the outbreak and the world’s second largest economy — to a standstill.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has now warned that “community spread” in the U.S. — spread among individuals where the source of the infection is unknown — is highly likely, and urged Americans to gear up for a “significant disruption.”

As a result, the CDC says that health officials may implement “social distancing measures that increase the physical space between people.”

This may include mandated “workplace social distancing measures” such as “replacing in-person meetings with teleworking,” the U.S. health authorities add. Managing a massive remote workforce As confirmed coronavirus cases increase in the U.S., experts say there […]

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