We are in the midst of a very unnerving time. Cue in the Twilight Zone theme song and sweaty flashes of empty grocery store shelves.
With the pandemonium of COVID-19 and its spread on a global pandemic scale, we’re all doing what we can to keep ourselves and each other, as safe (and sane) as possible.
But what about your business? Protecting your business during COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, is paramount. Don’t panic! As a business who has always worked digitally, we want to provide as many resources as we can to support your business and share important steps to take to ensure you navigate your strategies to segue successfully through this economic uncertainty.
Keeping in mind that as we keep up with governmental mandates and new announcements daily, things may change. But we’ll cover these topics that our clients are currently navigating:
- Internal Practices & Workplace Safety during COVID-19
- Switching to Work From Home during COVID-19
- Public Communication – Announcing your COVID-19 Plan
- Other Helpful Resources
Let’s dive into each topic and break it down.
Internal Practices & Workplace Safety during COVID-19
Establish an Internal COVID-19 Protocol. Your employees come first. How your business reacts in this time of crisis will show your true values, so decide how it is that you are protecting employees at this time.
Are you an essential business? If employees must still work during this time of #socialdistancing, implement meticulous hygiene procedures and communicate internally to let them know how you are protecting them, and what you are doing to minimize the risk in the office to keep them safe. Source an external cleaning company to disinfect, sanitize, and suggest options on what you can do to ensure your establishment is squeaky clean. Here’s a good way to practice safe workplace cleanliness from the World Health Organization.
Are you a non-essential business? If your governmental bodies are recommending shutdowns, it can be a time of high risk for businesses as sources of revenue are cut off, but bills still need to be paid. Are you in a position where you need to lay off employees or can your employees continue their work from their home offices?
Update from the Government of Ontario – On March 23 the government of Ontario released their list of Essential Workplaces. All non-essential businesses are being ordered to close effective Tuesday, March 24 11:59p.m. for at least 14 days.
Switching to Work From Home during COVID-19
If you’re able to pivot, let your employees work remotely. The best method to keep you, your staff, and your clients safe? Migrate your office to work remotely if you are able to do so.
Now more than ever, flattening the curve is optimal to reduce the risk of spreading Coronavirus uncontrollably. Allow your staff to work out of the comfort and safety of their home. Like many business owners, you may be fearful of productivity. But did you know that studies show employees are more likely to work better when in their own space? Here’s why nvision’s CEO stands by the “WFH” option.
Tips to transitioning into remote work:
- Create a checklist for your staff of technical workstation needs and requirements. Ask your staff if there’s anything they may need to effectively work from home.
- Schedule daily or weekly team check-ins via video conferencing – Zoom, Google Hangouts, Bluejeans are great options.
- Keep communication lines open with great project management tools like Asana or Basecamp, and team-wide messaging via Slack
Helpful Work from Home Tips for Staff:
- Create a clean and well-lit workspace. Make sure your internet connection is viable and that you have a suitable office environment (the couch is not a great place to get work done). Inform your manager if you do not have all the tools you need to fulfill your duties on a daily basis.
- Let your roommates, friends, and family know what your work hours are to avoid unnecessary distractions.
- Get ready for the day as you normally would if you were going to the office. This helps you build routine and also shifts your mindset into office mode. We’re not saying you have to throw on the suit – but at least get out of those cozy pyjamas.
- Schedule one-on-one video calls with team members. Instead of a message, hop on a video call to maintain some much-needed human interaction.
- Set an alarm for yourself to get up every 30 minutes to stretch your legs. Even just walking to the kitchen and back can make a huge difference.
Public Communication – Announcing your COVID-19 Plan
Turn on your phone, your computer, or your television at any given point throughout the day, and you’ll be bombarded with numerous COVID-19 updates or articles. Social awareness is key during this pandemic and the community is keeping a careful watch on what practices businesses are following in light of it.
Determine what your business goals are and how you can adjust them to do your part in sustaining global well-being. Whether you are temporarily closing your retail space, reducing operation hours, or taking your office to the virtual realm, make sure to let your customers and clients know to avoid any confusion and unnecessary travel.
This is a mini checklist to ensure you cover all the external communication bases:
- Social Posts: Create a social post on how your business is shifting with regards COVID-19. Let the community know that you care about the overall safety of your employees as well as theirs and what policies you’ve put in place to maintain this. This can be updated on your social platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. Canva is an awesome resource with free COVID-19 infographic templates available.
- Contact Vendors: If you work with external vendors for supplies, productions shipping, etc. Contact them all to see what their status is in terms of closure or delays. This may affect how you deliver your end product or service to your clients as well.
- Contact Clients: Notify your clients and/or direct customers with modified business strategies. Set up virtual conference meetings in lieu of upcoming in-person ones. If you’re customer-facing, make sure to let them know if there are any order delays and assure them of health and safety best practices within your facility.
- Update Hours/Closures: Don’t forget to update your business hours on Google My Business and all your other social listings (Yelp, Facebook, etc) if they’re changing. Google has a “special hours” section where you can edit your hours for a temporary update.
There’s a lot of unknown out there and an increasing general sense of panic. While we don’t know when things will be going back to normal (or if this is the new normal), it’s important to stick to the facts with trust-worthy updates on Coronavirus from accredited sources. This way, you can be proactive and not reactive when it comes to your business. Keeping a close eye on these updates is beneficial in adjusting the trajectory of your business based on the ever-changing nature of COVID-19. Some official sources we trust:
- World Health Organization
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Your local and federal Government
We will be continually updating this guide as we monitor the evolution of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Until the next update, stay safe, be well, and practice kindness, friends!