Fear. This word looms as large as the global pandemic.
Be it the United States - the worst-hit or Anguilla - the least hit, fear is predominant in every meeting room and in every employee who is wondering about the next pay check.
For businesses, this fear can wreak havoc. Offices are in lockdown and the loss in productivity is apparent. SMBs and new businesses can find themselves in hard waters due to vanishing demand. Most of all, the establishments where work from home isn’t practical are left helpless.
This article aims to offer solutions to similar problems and how business owners can pull through the slowdown while preparing for its after-effects.
The below chart from McKinsey & Company comprehensively summarises an action plan which businesses can use.
Communicating Current Business Status To All Stakeholders
It is pretty evident that most if not all businesses will shift their operations. Deadlines will be rearranged and project status across the board will change.
This can cause panic. Therefore, the first step is to inform everyone about their current status of the business. Below are some general points that this step includes.
Healthcare myths and unverified information can also cause panic. Hence, it’s important to keep the team’s morale high at your business by using the following practices.
Meet Work from Home Challenges
Not all employees have the resources they need to efficiently work from home. Some might just not be ready for the shift. Hence, helping employees to adapt to the new working style can be a significant boost to productivity.
One of the employees at Dikonia didn’t have a up-to-the-mark computer at her home. The administration was quick to notice that and helped him get a fully functioning system, despite lockdown.
Similar assistance was also provided to all employees in terms of grants for computer accessories, internet and software applications for a streamlined work environment.
Prepayment Packages for dealing with Crash Crunch
Many businesses such as construction, manufacturing, brick and mortar stores, etc can’t offer work from home alternatives. This means the businesses might have to face a complete shutdown during the public emergency.
Such businesses can get in touch with their committed clients and pitch special pre-payment packages. For example, a restaurant can offer 3 months of meals in a package worth $200 to its regular visitors that they can redeem once the lockdown is over.
Even if 5-10% customers agree, the restaurant can at least keep the payroll afloat and help the employees avoid a full salary cut.
The same model can be applied to all kinds of businesses for dealing with the crisis.
Prepare for changes in advance
The economic impact will be felt around the world. To say it in fewer words, a global recession could just be around the corner.
How can your organization prepare for it? It’s a very open-ended question as each industry will be impacted in a different way. Therefore, thoughts need to be put in while there is still time.
Some businesses can expect an explosion of demand when things return to normal while others can expect a further dry-up. Should you hire more professionals according to that o your employees need to re-skill?
The lockdown is the best time to take these policy decisions.
Necessity is the mother of invention.
How can you deal with complete blackouts like the Covid19 in the future? What new permanent changes can be incorporated? Here are a few positions.
Permanent Work From Home Positions
In the wake of the outbreak, all employees were shifted to work from home arrangement at Dikonia. The system boded well with the team as the employees were quick to adapt to this abrupt change.
The administration has now decided to include Permanent Work From Home positions for
Building the remote team culture will strengthen the company’s ability to stay afloat in case another such lockdown hits the country.
Revisions to Paid Leave Policy
The company is also brainstorming on the paid leave policy and has been planning to include “paid leaves for public emergencies” that can be used in corresponding scenarios.
Currently, The Factories Act has provided annual earned leave of 12 working days for all the workers who have worked at least 240 days in a year, which is quite low given lockdowns.
Therefore, an allowance for more number of paid leaves needs to be in place so that the employees can tackle financial challenges while they are rendered helpless.
Mark Cuban, a prominent investor and serial entrepreneur has called the pandemic as an opportunity for a “major reset.”
It has given us time to reflect upon the faults in the current system of work and innovate in ways that can help it improve.
A necessary reform that we have observed can come in the form of remote working. While there are several remote working tools available in the market, new tools can be devised that deal with challenges like slow internet, working offline, collaboration tools for the entire organization and the like.
I’ll touch upon these aspects in the next article, stay tuned!
Each calamity presents us with an opportunity to get better at tackling it and the implications trickle down to all aspects of the business. Same is the case with Covid19. While going is tough for businesses around the world, the scope of improvement, innovation and resilience is equally high.
Chhavi is the Founder and Partner at Dikonia. She is passionate about delivering beyond expectations and crafting rewarding experiences. Her company provides innovative IT solutions including custom SaaS offerings that streamline workflow as well as development and design services in keeping with latest buying and market trends. Chhavi holds a Master of Computer Applications from Punjabi University.