Few things, if any, have impacted businesses more than Covid-19. While some businesses never stopped — grocery stores, supply chains, manufacturing — others are slowly returning only to find that the world is a lot different than it was mere months ago. You may already be tired of hearing the phrase “the new normal,” but the truth is that things will likely never be the same as before.
Now more than ever, it’s crucial for businesses to take note of the lessons we’re learning through the pandemic. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you adapt your business to a new set of operating conditions:
Remote Work is Possible
Employees and thought leaders have been pushing for more opportunities to work from home for quite some time, but many organizations have resisted the idea. Their fear has been whether or not productivity could be managed or maintained if their staff were working remotely. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced businesses to give it a try, and they’re finding out it works. Not only have they found that their employees have maintained their productivity, in many cases it has increased. Another benefit has been increased morale, less stress, and little to no commutes.
If you own or manage a business, it may be worth your time to look into ways your employees can work remotely.
Preparing for the Unexpected
The financial hit businesses have sustained has been devastating. Many businesses have survived only because they had the money to do so. While another pandemic may not be imminent, other emergencies can and do happen. Consider putting aside a portion of your gross profits so you’ll be better prepared to weather any future storms. It may require a small sacrifice now, but it could prove to make a huge difference later if your business has to endure another unexpected hardship.
One other thing you might think about is advising your employees to do the same. Help them devise a plan if necessary. This will help them to get through any future hard times, and it will show them you genuinely care about their well-being.
You may have noticed how much confusion is out there regarding what to do during a pandemic. There has been a lot of conflicting information disseminated to the general public through various governmental agencies, the result of which has been divisiveness and confusion. The same thing can happen within a business, and covid-19 has shown many organizations weaknesses in their methods of communicating with their people. In times of emergency or sudden changes, can you quickly and efficiently contact your people? Email may not be your best bet, and there are other options such as texting. Texting is an effective way to reach people fast when there’s a company-wide issue that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
Another great option is Google Docs, because it allows your entire team to see the same document, at the same time, and even communicate on the fly as you work or make changes. Whatever system or method you use, be sure to instruct your people how it works and test it out before you need it.
Create a Backup Plan
When the pandemic hit, many businesses that relied on in-person customer traffic had to learn to quickly adapt, or face the possibility of going out of business. Restaurants, automobile dealers, and many retailers were forced to get creative and invent new ways to serve their customers. Meet with your managers and employees now, and brainstorm ways in which you can pivot your business if and when necessary. Look at it as an investment in safeguarding your business for the future. It’s better to have a Plan B and not need it, than to need one and not have it.
Let Sick People Stay Home
It has long been the norm for employees to feel pressured to show up for work, even if they’re sick. Even if this pressure is self-induced and doesn’t come from management, be sure to clearly communicate to your employees your stance on this topic. If the pandemic has shown us anything, it has shown us the importance of our health, and how quickly a business can be shut down if the majority of the people working there become ill. Better to be short-handed in the short term, than close your doors for the long term.
Hopefully, we’ll put covid-19 behind us for good in the near future, but it’s crucial that we remember the lessons we have learned while facing it. Planning for the future now, may very well make all the difference for you and your business in the future.