Social distancing, while good for public health, is bad for small businesses. Foot traffic has dropped steeply since the Coronavirus outbreak as more and more people stay home and self-quarantine.
Almost every company has implemented a work-from-home policy due to the spread of the virus, businesses are now tasked with trying to be just as productive without their normal resources and routines. What can you take from this uncertainty that allows you to work more efficiently going forward? Well, the following:
1. Embrace New Ways Of Working
With large numbers of people now not just being asked to self-isolate but having isolation enforced by their government, the momentum for us to change our usual routine and mindset is growing fast. In the past few years, the experience of flexible working has changed dramatically thanks to the development of new platforms and collaboration tools and new networks.
To protect their workforce, companies are asking their staff to work at home. Google and Twitter suspended all non-critical business travel and events, and told all of their employees to work remotely. Research has shown that more flexible work policies that give workers more control over when, where, and how they work don’t hurt business performance. Instead, such policies can lead to less stressed, more satisfied employees who are less likely to quit.
With a crisis like Coronavirus, the benefits of home-based working become obvious. But this should spark a more general conversation in our workplaces about the benefits of a truly flexible approach to work. Organisations that go further, pandemic or no pandemic, will enjoy improved productivity, higher job satisfaction, and a renewed ability to attract top talent.
2. Find Other Ways To Engage With Your Clients/Customers- Embrace Tech
Many business owners are worried that the impact of COVID-19 will be deeper and more long-lasting than anticipated. As a result, businesses in every industry are looking for ways to keep their customers during this pandemic.
Clients are — sometimes surprisingly — open to more creative ways of working too. Whether it’s offering access to experts on a part-time “value added” basis, or moving face to face demos of your service to online/virtual, often their needs can be met far better with a little lateral thinking and open-mindedness.
Stream/ Video chat your services- Go digital with your services to continue to provide access to your customers who are sitting at home, wishing they could support your business. Tutors, personal trainers and even therapists are making themselves available virtually. Use a free tool like Google Hangouts, Skype or Zoom to offer your services remotely.
Host your event online- It’s important to recognise that most consumers are craving entertainment while being quarantined at home. If you had a workshop, product launch or seminar planned, move it to one of the live streaming social media channels or better yet, host a webinar.
This is something we’re doing here at Evoke Management and it’s working! It’s a great way to keep your customers engaged and build goodwill, as well as to sell your products. Get creative with how you can make customers still feel invested in your brand and engaged with your content from a distance.
3. Effective Communication
Internal communication is an essential part of crisis management, especially if it’s a pandemic like COVID-19. If your team isn’t informed and doesn’t understand what is going on, communications outside of the organisation will be more difficult. You need to demystify the situation for employees, put everyone’s mind at ease, and provide hope for the future.
Investing in video conferencing software such as Zoom or Skype will enable you to conduct as many meetings via video to ensure your team is more engaged, connected to their colleagues and invested in the success of the team. They need to know your business is committed to making their remote work lifestyle as comfortable and effective as possible; these technology investments go a long way in assuring an easier transition.
The situation is evolving rapidly, and no one is quite sure what news each day will bring. Your clients/customers can empathise with businesses facing a crisis, as long as you communicate with them properly. Let them know if you’re closing your doors/changing your hours and what steps you’re taking to keep your employees and work environment safe and clean. You’ve probably already received lots of emails on behalf of CEOs describing the steps they’re taking to mitigate risk, but this is an effective method of communication.
We hope the above has shown you that although Coronavirus is a terrible public health threat, there is a hidden upside; It gives us a chance to rethink how work is organised and bring our policies into the 21st century. Inevitably, you will need to change and adapt the way you work, so be sure to track the outcomes what works and what doesn’t – to enable you to maintain the efficiencies when you’re back to normal.
If you need help with adapting your business to this change or would like steps on how to do so, reach out to book a free 30 minute video call with one of our experienced directors.