A Resilient Tomorrow

The COVID-19 outbreak is having a significant impact on a wide range of business sectors. The World Health Organization has now declared it as an emergency of international concern. It is still a complex and rapidly evolving situation.

With over 57 million people in 15 cities across China on lockdown, the crisis is hitting the retail, travel and tourism industries in Singapore particularly hard in areas such as cash flow and supply chain. On top of these concerns, firms are also faced with business continuity issues and possible service failures, among other economic and operational implications.

At PwC, our experts have significant experience helping a diverse range of companies build their crisis response capabilities, and face these crises with confidence.

At times like this care is as healing as cure, so keep focus firmly set on your people. Situations such as this are also fast track drivers of change and as we push boundaries to stay relevant, we must aim to emerge much stronger than ever before. For businesses, readiness is key across all platforms be it processes, people, technology or security. Those that are able to widen the gamut options and execute dynamic business strategies with agility, alignment and impact will come out successful.

Yeoh Oon Jin, Executive Chairman, PwC Singapore

What PwC is doing for our people

Containment / BCP measures
  • Adhering to MOH’s guidelines and minimising the risk to our clients and staff
  • Prompt scheduling of team segregation, so that groups of partners and staff work remotely / from home on a rotational basis. Colleagues who fall within the vulnerable group - elderly, pregnant or with compromised immunity / pre-existing medical condition are given priority.
  • Enforcing LOAs strictly. 
  • Screening the temperature of individuals who enter the building before entering the workplace.
Sanitation / Education / Prevention measures
  • Increasing frequency of cleaning in all areas in the office, taking special care to sanitise shared spaces and areas with higher footfall.
  • Making hand sanitisers, sanitising wipes, thermometers and medical support readily available.
  • Communicating consistently and clearly to our people, with regular updates and reminders on socially responsible behaviour. Assuring staff that our people’s health, safety and well-being is of the highest priority.
Prepared, alert and ready to act
  • Activating tested BCP to ensure we are ready to respond to changing circumstances. As a firm, we are in a relatively prepared position, having moved to a fully flexible model both operationally and culturally two years ago.
  • Equip all staff with the necessary technology tools for business to continue as usual. Set up a portal that lists all available remote working / conference tools available for staff to use, and how to use them.
  • Prepare essential communication templates for staff to use when communicating to their clients / stakeholders on the firm’s latest policies.

What PwC is doing globally

Our PwC experts across the network are experienced in working with companies, governments, regulators, NGOs and international organisations around the world, helping them to prepare for and respond to some of the most high profile pandemics, including Ebola, MERS, SARS, H1N1 (swine flu) and H5N1 (bird flu).

Our global crisis centre is already currently working with a range of organisations across industries on crisis planning, effective communication, workforce and supply chain issues.

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Five key steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 outbreak on your business

Refresh business continuity & crisis management plans

Coronavirus has most likely already identified gaps in your existing crisis management and business continuity plans. Understand the situation and plan for the impact on local and international market operations, supply chains cash flow and workforce. Ensure you document decisions and implemented actions to allow for later assessment of best practice and assist with possible future legal actions.

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Optimise people and organisation management

Businesses that have presence in affected geographies must review plans to keep their people and working environment safe. Revisit your travel rules, HR policies, first aid plans and create safe ways to exercise the arrangements. Ramp up the working environment with up to date hygiene advice, visitor policies and consider partial/total building closure protocols if social distancing is required.

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Ensure agile, aligned and effective communication and stakeholder management

Clear and concise communication is crucial as you anticipate and react to external events or crisis situations which may affect your business. Given the uncertainty about the real impact of the outbreak, organisations need to give confidence to their people and external stakeholders and start to prepare for what happens next.

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Review your digital transformation strategy

Run your digital capabilities at full throttle to secure the wellbeing of your people, optimise operations, ensure security and build trust. This crisis will test your digital transformation strategy. Take this time as an opportunity to identify gaps that need to be plugged. Your digital readiness across technologies, processes, people will come to the fore.

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Be open to collaborations with government agencies in managing crisis

Compliance with all government directives for the wellbeing of the society is a must. Tough times like this are drivers of change and we must work together to create value for the society at large. Let’s do our part in creating public bodies of the future that are adaptive to circumstances and ready to deliver its defined purpose in the face of a world in constant change.

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How PwC Can Help

Our resilience professionals have global experience helping clients respond to crises while balancing business continuity. This experience includes design and implementation of robust risk mitigation and contingency frameworks, identifying remediation activities and building capacity controls related matters.

Our specialists in crisis, risk management and intelligence have experience in high risk industries and international organisations and governments. Our intelligence professionals have also undertaken thousands of multilingual intelligence collection engagements around the world.

Our professionals have had global experience helping companies, governments and multilaterals maximise coverage while managing risk and cost within supply chains.

Our professionals provide governance and anti-corruption assistance to support global response in times of severe and complex crisis. Our financial management expertise allows us to serve in fiduciary agent roles as well as fund administrators. Our tax and immigration specialists are familiar with applicable laws, and maintain the right relationships to assist you with tax, immigration and exchange controls related matters.

Our global health network of more than 13,000 professionals includes doctors, nurses, pharmacists, technicians, former government officials and epidemiologists. We have strong capabilities across all sub-sectors within the Health Industry, including the Government and Public Sector, Payors, Providers, Pharma, Life Sciences and MedTechs.

Our crisis communications experts have helped organisations respond to public crises including proactive strategic messaging campaigns, engagement across all forms of media, and ongoing support to crisis communications efforts. Our professionals have also managed the stakeholder outreach and communications plans for some of the most highly publicised crises in recent history.

During times of uncertainty, many business contracts are thrown open for review and scrutiny. Against the backdrop of crisis, companies are likely to start exploring the legal defense of "force majeure". Our PwC legal experts can address your queries, help you develop an efficient and commercially viable solution, and also give you early visibility of possible broader business issues and implications.

Download the Quick Guide for Staying in Business During the COVID-19 Virus Outbreak

A myriad of immigration, tax, mobility and people issues often arise from crises. For example, how do firms now manage the movements of their people regionally and globally, with the new travel restrictions? How would they get their hands on the most up-to-date information on new travel restrictions? What are the immigration, employment tax, payroll and social security implications if people are working outside their regular place of work?

Our PwC Global Mobility experts play a large part in delivering whole-firm solutions in crisis management, particularly when enterprises consider their "people" response. Other than the issues highlighted above, our professionals also provide considerations for non-employees (such as contractors and directors), evacuation / emergency healthcare, employer obligation and duty of care towards employees and dependents, among other workforce planning solutions.

Download our APAC Guide for Global Mobility Professionals here

Why PwC?

We’ve helped others like you

We’ve helped companies, governments, regulators, NGOs and international organisations around the world prepare for and respond to some of the most high profile pandemics, including Ebola. We’ve used the lessons from these events to help them further improve business resilience.

We have an end-to-end crisis team

We’re able to quickly assemble the right team of local and global specialists in crisis response; governance, risk and compliance; health systems management; logistics and supply chain management; and resilience building.

Benefit from global connectivity

We work seamlessly across borders, with multinational teams that combine the right knowledge and experience to meet our clients’ needs. This virus is affecting our people and clients across China and beyond. Our presence in China is widespread, and with an on-the-ground presence and capability, we offer a cost-effective model that leverages local knowledge and relationships.

We acknowledge that this is a difficult time for many individuals and businesses. If you would like more information or to discuss any specific issues you may have, please contact us.

See Hong Pek

Partner, Business Resilience, PwC Singapore

+65 6236 7398


Michael Peer

Partner, Head of Disputes Advisory, PwC South East Asia Consulting, PwC Singapore

+65 9663 9089


Dr Zubin J Daruwalla

Health Industries Leader, PwC Singapore

+65 9751 7023


David Wijeratne

Partner, Growth Markets Practice, PwC Singapore

+65 9759 1784


Sigfried Ching

Managing Director, Business Continuity and Resilience, PwC Singapore

+65 9736 0724


Rachel Eng

Managing Director, Eng and Co. LLC, Singapore

+65 6597 3343


For other general questions:

Sam Kok Weng

Markets Leader, PwC Singapore

+65 6236 3268



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