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The appearance of novel COVID-19 forced a rapid evolution in how most businesses operate. Across the entire globe, organizations and employees have had to enforce some changes and adapt to radically different ways of both living and working. Business owners even have had to rethink the future of their companies and dive deep into their toolkits and pockets to find solutions to save their companies from the crisis.
When the outbreak first caused many organizations to shut down and go remote to limit the spread of the virus, there were a lot of challenges and fear. Now, eleven months later, there is still a great deal of uncertainty as to how companies will look in the next couple of months or even the next year.
While the initial crisis seems to have passed in many regions, it remains in others. And with the present second wave of the pandemic, we have gathered a list of ways that can help to keep commercial sectors afloat through future disasters caused by COVID-19.
Establish Safety Measures
As stores and businesses are now reopening after weeks or months of lockdown, local governments have issued safety guidelines companies should follow to keep their employees and customers safe. You may be required to keep up a rigorous cleaning schedule, provide all the necessary personal protective equipment for employees returning to the office, and make adjustments to workspaces to keep social distancing at work and more barriers between workers.
Make sure your operations follow the guidelines. Try to maintain strict safety measures and whenever possible, be even more careful than required. This means that you should provide more frequent cleaning or allow your employees to continue working from home if they want, even if the number of infections is dropping in your city.
It might be a good idea to stock up on essential supplies as earlier in the pandemic, vital items like personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizers and paper goods were in short supply. Consider keeping a reasonable stockpile to avoid the rush in case the second wave of the coronavirus disrupts your supply.
Make Good Financial Decisions
If your company is struggling to stay afloat, take some time to reassess your financials to see where you can cut costs without letting your employees go. Try to develop an overall cost reduction plan and translate as many fixed costs into variable costs as possible so you can adjust your revenue.
In case your business is experiencing less demand, you might need to rethink your staffing requirements by rehiring only core staff and allowing laid-off employees to continue to receive unemployment benefits until you have enough customers and profit to require full staffing again.
What’s more, if you have been fortunate enough to survive the pandemic with little or no financial loss, make sure you have funds set aside in case a second wave of the virus has a more severe impact on your organization.
You can also use financial support from the government. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is intended to offer financial support for small and medium-sized businesses affected by the pandemic across the UK through a government lending guarantee. CBILS scheme brings two different kinds of funding, giving businesses that are losing income and experiencing cash flow disruptions flexibility to choose what is best for their company. Opt for a hassle-free CBILS loan or apply for a flexible CBILS revolving credit facility backed by your company accounts.
Improve Your Online Presence
With lockdown orders at the start of the virus outbreak, consumers moved online, which increased retail e-commerce sales in record numbers. Therefore, your business must be ready to expand its online presence. While you probably already have a website, you might also need to launch an e-commerce platform that will allow you to sell products and services online, based on your type of business.
Furthermore, you have to put some work into branding, get your shipping department in order, and set up your marketing, particularly paid search.
Aside from an online presence, you might want to consider using digital technology in other areas of the business. Many small and medium-sized organizations, for example, still rely on manual, paper-based processes. However, these processes don’t work when people are in different physical spaces, and they don’t scale, which also limits the growth potential of the company.
Train Your Employees
Finally, it’s crucial to educate your employees on how to respond to a potential outbreak in your company. Make a plan for your team to notify their supervisors if they have tested positive for coronavirus or if they have come in close contact with someone who becomes ill.
It’s also essential to ensure that you have staff that can replace workers who are sick. Consider cross-training employees for critical jobs that can’t be put off for a few weeks or months, and provide them with all the access needed to take over on short notice. Furthermore, if some employees have struggled to get used to remote work and working tools like video conferencing programs, provide additional training to make working from home and keeping in touch easier in the future.
Review Remote Working Policies
During the lockdown, remote working became a significant part of the new normal. Many companies were forced to move entirely online, while for employers, there were plenty of challenges and lessons learned along the way. Now, it might be a good time to take what you have learned from the previous quarantine and analyze how this period has affected your organization.
In addition, you can purchase new software, make any necessary adjustments to help your employees be most effective from home, supply employees with better equipment, and consider a semi-permanent shift to remote services until the pandemic is controlled.