With the COVID-19 crisis still raging on, every aspect of our lives has gone berserk. While business owners try to cope with every uncertainty, the COVID-19 outbreak has been an exceptional case due to its widened scope. What had worked in a COVID-less world will no longer favor your business during this crisis. And according to health researchers, the world will take years to come back to the ‘normal’ we once knew.
When calculated roughly, the COVID-19 outbreak has cost about US$40 billion in the US alone. Now, when we consider the global economy, economists say that COVID-19 has probably cost three or four times as much. With the world economy hitting an all-time low, it is no surprise that the pandemic has disrupted businesses of all shapes and sizes.
As a business owner, you, therefore, need to think of different ways to sustain your business while ensuring employee welfare and a stable ROI. In what follows, you will find a few measures every business ought to take to counter this lethal crisis:
1. Review workforce welfare
Remember this always: Your business will run smoothly only when your employees are doing alright. So, your priority should be the safety of your staff. Evaluate the living conditions of the workers and check how many of them inhabit affected or vulnerable areas.
Check on them and ask them how many can travel to the office and how many would want to continue working from home. Make them feel that they have to the prerogative to choose. Accordingly, you can arrange for mandatory pick-up and drop facilities. For employees working remotely, make sure they have the required infrastructure set-up at home.
2. Revise working policies
You cannot deny leaves as you used to before a pandemic. So, before you have a misunderstanding that can escalate to disgruntlement, revise your policies. These policies should address how the company will deal with absences due to sickness or caring for relatives.
Be very vocal and lucid about the protocol for reporting an illness. If your company functions globally, figure out the policy for workers stuck in foreign countries longer than expected. Considering the uncertainty of the situation, make sure your policies are flexible enough to play out well in reality.
3. Create a Global Crisis Centre
When the whole world has turned upside down, you cannot rely on generic plans any longer. You need to be adaptable enough to tailor every measure so that they help you cope with the challenges of the pandemic. If most of your employees are working remotely, check whether your company is using an extensive technology bandwidth or not.
Evaluate the operations that will be impacted when offshore workforces cannot come to work. Create a plan that addresses sudden failures to an extent. This includes the travel policy, the modes of communicating with your employees and the data flow during this crisis.
4. Evaluate the supply chain
A disrupted supply chain can shake the very foundation of a business – big or small. So, you need to assess every possible vulnerability of a disrupted supply chain and their impact on your business. This means you will have to go beyond the first- and second-tier suppliers. Your focus should be on the root of it – that is the raw materials.
For example, if you need a raw component from a country that is in isolation, you need to figure out an alternative for secondary supply. With a disease that spreads through contact, you must realize that generic contingency plans can fall apart in a matter of days.
5. Identify potential points of failure
Amid a pandemic, you cannot expect everything to go right according to your plan. Locations might become containment zones; individuals may get sick, and deliveries might be delayed. So, you must consider the shortcomings of every strategy.
Determine which critical processes depend on which teams or individuals. Check whether you have other employees who have the right skills to take up a vital role when required. If your business has a call center, come up with measures to limit the level of social interaction using techniques like staggered shifts or partial office occupancy.
6. Get communication right
With quarantines and lockdowns becoming a norm, you must strive hard to keep all channels of communication clear. This means you cannot have just one communication module. Try Skype, Zoom, Google Duo for video communication. Using Zoho Sheets and Slack for daily updates on assignments can help you keep better track.
To avoid disinformation and confusion, keep your employees informed at all times. Reassure your stakeholders and employees about how your company is prepared. Most importantly, make them feel that their welfare is paramount and the company is ready to take all measures to protect them.
7. Use scenario analysis
With unpredictability rife in the air, you need to understand that the pandemic has the potential to impact business for months. To combat the effects, you can use scenario planning to test preparedness in reality. Ascertain some of the best- and worst-case scenarios.
Consider factors like your working capital, rents for office space, etc. Consult with your finance team to know what equipment would you need to battle such critical sensitivities. If you are a brand that offers assignment help services, you may witness a significant rise in demand. In that case, be prepared with more academic writers to handle the surge.
8. Don’t lose sight of other risks
While COVID-19 is a significant threat, it isn’t the only one on the horizon. So, do not just consider the pandemic as the only threat. Currently, most organizations are vulnerable from risks that they fail to focus on due to the looming crisis. So, consider risks like Cybersecurity breaches that aren’t affected by pandemic.
Make sure that your data is safe while fighting the crisis at hand. Moreover, with employees working from home, protecting data becomes paramount. Invest in data security software and make sure your employees have them on the devices they use for office work.
9. Boost your digital campaigns
Your business thrives for the customers. Without them, it is as good as nothing. So, change your patterns of reaching out to them. People staying at home are spending most of their time on digital platforms. Use this opportunity for your brand to tap into digital marketing for better results.
Use Facebook ads, Google ads, Instagram for Business, or LinkedIn Ads, to boost the traffic to your online offerings. Use this time to improve the social media presence of your brand. Communicate and engage with customers and assure them that your business is taking every preventive measure.
These are challenging times for each one of us. However, even in the face of such an adversity, only a prepared business can do well in terms of profit and protect their workers at the same time. So, leave no stone unturned to protect your business and ensure smooth operations. Consider this a test of your patience and determination. If you can push yourself against this hurdle and adjust to the “new normal”, you will know you are ready to take up all challenges and emerge victorious in the end.
Stay safe and keep others around you safe. This too shall pass.