CoVID-19 has disrupted the status quo and forced us all to make many lifestyle changes. The overall consequences have had a devastating effect on our socio-economical structure. Most of the population has either been laid off or are working remotely, with only essential services being in operation. As we navigate the changing landscape it is important to reflect and consider what we have learned so far. COVID-19
Planning In Advance for Crises and Acting Quickly
The speed at which the crisis has developed is unprecedented. In less than a couple of months, we have gone from business as usual to near-total shutdowns in most regions. It is possible to make plans and try to prepare ahead of time. However, there is no guarantee those plans will remain effective. What is important is being able to adjust your plan of action. Even more important is your ability to quickly adjust your plans and take action. The faster you can respond the better off you will be. Click To Tweet
Here’s what to do:
- Set up a crisis team whose job it is to stop what they’re doing and focus on analyzing the situation, creating a plan, and positioning for the company. For smaller companies, this could mean you can include someone from communications, marketing, sales, HR, operations, warehouse, and/or anyone with relevant experience.
- Make sure your entire team has access to remote working opportunities. If you have not done so already then now is the time to set them up or make the investment. Many cloud-based collaborative programs can be relatively inexpensive. It will save you so much time and money when employees can easily transition to working remotely.
- Keep an eye out for opportunities to expand your products or service user capabilities. If COVID-19 has taught us anything – being ready to pivot is one that we will not forget. Shifting focus to meet the demands for products and services can also keep you ahead of the curve but this requires flexibility. If your plans are rigid any number of developments could render them obsolete. If you are set in your ways you will not be able to overcome and triumph in the face of a global crisis. A product meant for one function that could be re-purposed in a creative helpful way. A different audience might suddenly have a need for your services. You should not be thinking “business as usual” because these are unusual times. Click To Tweet
Looking Towards Local Production
It is not uncommon for businesses to outsource production or services. Internationally sourced goods are endemic to the economy we know. But what happens when your supply chain is cut off? The occasional delay in shipping or service is to be expected but long-term disruptions highlight the pitfalls of depending on international trade. Sourcing your materials or labor locally can help you avoid this setback. With lower trade and travel restrictions, you can stay in business and become self-sufficient.
Employees Are Your Most Important Asset
Decisions are made quickly and often without notice but most of those decisions will have a direct impact on your employees. Don’t forget that your staff will be asked more or put in unexpected situations and during a global pandemic our lives and livelihood have become blurred. Here are a few things that can make a difference to your most important asset:
- Check in with employees. Find out what challenges they are facing and see if there is anything that can be done to support their changing needs
- Communicate, communicate, communicate! Don’t leave employees in the dark, especially when times are tough it’s vital that you share any plans, decisions, or even uncertainties. When information is being withheld employees are more likely to lose confidence, feel abandoned, or become resentful.
- If it is appropriate include your team in a brainstorm for solutions. Not only could you source great ideas that might make all the difference, but employees get insight on the real challenges the company is facing, and they might have an easier time digesting tough decisions made later.
These are just a few of the many lessons that we can look back on, as businesses and as individuals. Though we hope we never have to face anything like this again, it is important that we begin reflecting now and gain the most from this experience. COVID-19 has taught us that we need to prepare ourselves for any future situations in order to help companies rebound quickly and find solutions to reopen their doors safely.
By: Adam Chan & Karla Flores – May 5, 2020