The world is on the verge of the biggest health crisis in present history. We are seeing already tough measures from leading governments and most affected countries. Shutting down public services, schools, universities. Banning transportation and closing borders. It is a different world and we have to adapt to its new order. We have to take our responsibility very seriously and do our best to take care of our employees, our loved ones, and our society.
This might be tough to read. I can assure you that it is not panic or conspiracy. It is numbers. As a data company in our core business, we cannot just bet on hope.
COVID-19 is a flu-like decease for most of the infected. That is true. But numbers as of today are clear that it is about 10 times more contagious and at least 30 times more deadly compared to seasonal flu. Influenza has about 0.1% death rate which in 2018 counts for 360K lethal cases from approximately 400M cases world-wide. If we run the numbers the outcome of COVID-19 may reach over 100M deaths in just one year.
This devastating projection may come true ONLY if we are not taking any actions and treat COVID-19 as the seasonal flu. Therefore, critical measures are essential. Dramatic changes are required in our way of life and business. We have to enforce and embrace those changes to save lives and adapt to the new economy.
Follow all the guidelines from the authorities. Stay informed and alerted. While there is no cure available, the only meaningful measures are to limit the number of infected people. This is possible through a combination of two factors - increased care for personal and environmental hygiene and dramatic decrease of physical social interactions. So, stay clean and make your virtual-self available and responsive, while keeping social distance.
We started applying measures from the 24th of February. We opened a company-wide information channel, formed a crisis management team, improved sanitation at the office, installed alcohol-based hand-sanitation dispensers everywhere and encouraged our employees to work remotely from home.
From the 11th of March, we applied more strict measures by moving 90% of our employees to a home office, practically closing our office areas until further notice. We have strongly advised all our employees against public transportation usage, we organised all unavoidable remote sites visits through the corporate and personal fleet, and enforced strong limitations on any face to face meetings.
While this will have an impact on our finances we are committed to keeping the pace and quality of our services with no compromises.
Following the rule from Minister of Health since 5 PM on 13th of March we ceased all our retail operations. Until further notice Lenovo Exclusive Store will operate only as an e-commerce business, our Lenovo/IBM/Toshiba customer care centres will continue operations only through parcel services, our Training Centre will provide only individual exams in a secure environment.
The authorities are applying measures toward the safety of each one of us. The enforced change of life will inevitability have a huge impact on our financial life as well. To address this risk, we have secured additional funds to secure our employees and business continuity as the crises progresses. We have established constant monitoring and have enforced a financial plan to ensure our endurance.
Our first responsibility is our employee's safety. As a company, we are fully enabled for remote work and while in the past this was considered a nice benefit now it is embraced as the new normality.
Considering, that there are roles in the company that will be harmed, we are reallocating those resources to new tasks and responsibilities to help our company and customers endure through the crisis.
We to keep our employees safe and healthy while staying productive towards our mission and goals.
Practically, you, as our customer, have to sacrifice the pleasure of face-to-face communication with our team. Have no worries! We are fully committed to your success and day-to-day operations. We are available and more responsive than ever. In critical situations, there is a dedicated team to cover for on-site actions if requested.
It is a fact that the world is not prepared for this crisis. But as humans, we have endured because of our ability to think, change and adapt. This crisis will enforce change in our life- and work-style for a long time ahead. But we will rise stronger, healthier and smarter.
So far, software and computing technologies were essential for growth and evolution. Now, they are critical to empower the change and help us endure and level up. Our mission and services will continue to have an even more important role in the success of the entire society. We fully embrace the challenge and the responsibility and will continue to take care of your day.
Stay Healthy, Stay Safe!
CEO, IBS Bulgaria