2020 was a pretty tough year for the vast majority of businesses. So far, 2021 has followed suit. All of this has largely been caused by the coronavirus and Covid-19 pandemic. This pandemic hasn’t just posed a physical threat to us and our staff. It has resulted in government guidelines being implemented to slow the spread of the virus, encouraging us to stay two metres apart from one another and making running a business particularly difficult and, in some cases, impossible. This has resulted in many businesses struggling to make sales and consequently collapsing. On top of this, demand for products and services that haven’t been impacted in this way has dropped too. People have less money to spend or want to save and are more reluctant to part with their cash. This has resulted in many companies making staff redundant or having staff operate on reduced hours or pay. Unless your company operates in one of the few key sectors that are thriving right now, chances are you’re struggling. The good news is that there are plenty of things that you can do to help manage your business through this time!
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The first thing you should do is to start monitoring sales. While this is something that every business should do anyway, it’s of particular importance now. Why? Well, first and foremost, you can compare data to determine exactly how hard your business has been hit by this pandemic. Then you can dive deeper, seeing which products or services have been impacted in particular. This will help to give you focus, allowing you to make executive decisions regarding whether you will continue or discontinue particular lines and which areas you might want to invest more money, time and effort into. This can help to maximize your sales and maximize your profits, helping you to stay afloat. You can use sales reporting data to really help with this.
Invest in Marketing
Of course, once you have your sales data, you need to make the best decisions surrounding what to do with it. This is where effective marketing can come into play. If you decide to promote or focus on a particular aspect of your business or a particular product, you need to market it well. A good marketing team will be able to take care of marketing on your website, social media, through your emails, through advertising and more. If you don’t have an in-house marketing team, you may feel reluctant to start hiring new recruits when times are so uncertain. But don’t worry too much. You can often outsource marketing to a third party such as a specialist agency to take care of.
Help Staff Work from Home
If your staff can work remotely, they should be working remotely. This helps to prevent outbreaks and can reduce the spread of the virus around the world as a whole. Not only can outbreaks impact your company’s productivity, but it can result in health and safety issues too, which could result in fees and fines down the line. Of course, switching to remote work is a big change and you’re going to have to support your staff along every step of the way. Some areas to focus on include:
- Making sure your staff are cybersecurity conscious – cybersecurity is a huge risk for businesses right now. Cybercriminals are aware that small businesses switching to a remote working basis are vulnerable. They don’t have the same infrastructure, protocol or software in place as larger scale businesses and are consequently easier to attack. Make sure that you fully train your staff in cybersecurity to prevent their chances of leaking data or falling for cyber scams.
- Maintain communication – when staff work on site in a commercial premises they talk to one another day in and day out. Whether that’s through meetings, casual questions to even a little non work related chit chat. This is a time where people are feeling more isolated than ever and it’s important to make sure that you stay in touch with your staff on both a professional and a personal level. From a professional perspective, you need to ensure that staff can communicate to collaborate on projects and keep work on track. From a personal perspective, you need to ensure that your staff can communicate to maintain good bonds, team spirit and to ensure that everyone is well. Invest in software such as Microsoft Teams. This has the option for video calls, voice calls and instant messaging, consequently meeting all of your requirements.
- Invest in ergonomic furniture – when your staff work in the office space, you supply them with ergonomic furniture. This is furniture that has been specially designed to support them while they work, preventing issues such as back ache or repetitive strain injury. Make sure that this is available to them while they work from home. Whether that’s an ergonomic desk or an ergonomic chair. Give them the option to collect those they used to use in the office.
Make Your Workplace Covid-Safe
If you do have staff who have to work on site, you need to do your utmost to make sure that your workspace is as Covid-safe as possible. As we’ve briefly highlighted above, you need to avoid outbreaks at all costs to prevent reductions in productivity and to maintain a healthy and happy workforce. There are a number of steps that you can take to achieve this and it’s generally recommended that you look to your government’s guidelines for advice. But in general, some good steps to take include:
- Making sure staff are two metres apart
- Making sure staff wear facemasks (unless exempt)
- Ensuring staff don’t come to work if they’re exhibiting any symptoms
- Encouraging staff with symptoms to be tested
- Providing hand sanitizer
Keeping your company afloat right now is extremely important. Some of the steps outlined above should prove useful when it comes to helping your business make its way through this pandemic and safely as possible!