It seems, for those keeping up to date with the latest global developments of the Covid-19 virus, that with each passing day comes another daunting issue to navigate. Whether this be the panic buying of food and essential home items like toilet paper, or from a business perspective, a key move by the UK Government to promote remote working.
Whilst businesses such as Virgin Atlantic and Italian eatery chain Carluccio’s publicly reveal that the economic ramifications of Government sanctions could be potentially devastating to their industries, nearly all businesses around the globe are racing to form some semblance of stability on which to keep operations open. Yet whilst much of the news is centred on the developments of such issues, very few are looking to offer support or advice for those reaching for answers.
With this in mind here are five key steps to staying calm in the face of a seemingly impossible crisis.
The last thing businesses want to do is completely tear apart their policies, these are not normal times. Businesses that not only survive but continue to operate with positive results will be those willing to review everything regularly and change tactics. For example, Branson’s Virgin has announced that in a worst-case scenario, it will create rotas for unpaid leave across its entire staff. This is a drastic revelation, but one that may well save jobs in the long term. Other businesses who believe themselves to be staunchly office-based are being forced to address the concept of remote working – which has in many studies been found to actually increase productivity and worker wellbeing in the long run. Being open to ideas such as these are perhaps the only way to successfully navigate this crisis. Things will change regularly and being open to changing your approach will save you a lot of issues.
“Encourage your employees to prepare for the possibility of an immediate instruction to work at home. They may want to develop a “ready bag” that they take home with them at the end of each day that would allow them to begin working remotely at a moment’s notice. This would obviously include laptops, smartphones, and other related technology, but could also include physical items (such as binders, documents, materials),” stated guidance from law firm, FisherPhillips.
Many companies will shield their staff from the issues they’re facing; whilst fear-mongering is unnecessary, offering clarity by being honest with staff – based on only the facts as they stand – will help you thrive and work together to find a solution. If you’re experiencing issues, discuss them with staff. Be open to ideas, discuss your own thoughts and insight and as a team, you can continue to enjoy a culture built on clarity.
Trust your staff
Many bosses will be compelled into micromanagement. For example, asking for detailed logs of what staff are doing, hourly updates and camera-facing meetings to ensure that all workers are at a desk and present. Make no mistake, this is a massive productivity killer. Career addict research found that those who feel hounded by their boss are up to 85% less motivated to work hard. Instead, trust them. Your staff don’t want to goof off, they want to continue to work hard and pull together to get through the crisis. Trust that they are doing what they need to do, and they’ll feel valued, and trust you too.
Manage your expenses
The chances of your financial health being impacted are reasonably high as the country navigates this epidemic. Staff may not be able to work due to illness; clients may not have as much budget and resources may cost more. However, as with all such crises, this is temporary. The whole company must buckle down and simply weather this storm together. The first thing you can do is simplify your expenditure. Cut unnecessary travel and events from the calendar. Cancel any office-based expenses such as food budgets, introduce measures on company card spending and review the services that you invest in. These may seem like small incremental changes, but if you truly review your own outgoings, these small elements can add up to big savings. It’s also important that you pay attention to changes in Government legislation – there may well be benefits in these changes for your business that can save money.
Prioritise projects that gain revenue
Obviously without these essential cores of your business, you can’t carry on. As such, it’s essential that you remove some high-investment low-yield business and ensure that your key clients and major projects are on track. If this means removing people from unnecessary tasks until the issue is over, therefore giving more resource to these areas, then so be it. Making sacrifices to ensure that you stay afloat is prudent, and it’s one of the first areas you must review.
Yes, the weeks and months ahead are going to be tough, but if you believe in your business model and your staff, there’s no reason why you can’t come out the other side of this pandemic stronger and more agile. Good luck.