As Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to dominate the news?headlines and the UK?Government?begins taking action to mitigate the implications on businesses, how can you?continue operating and attracting new clients??
With the UK Government?now?advising?citizens?on?social distancing?and many?small businesses?looking at?huge?losses?due to market uncertainty,?the economy can seem very daunting for businesses trying to plan for?the?Coronavirus?outbreak.?However, there are?a number of?things businesses can do to protect their staff and clients?while continuing to operate.?
Responding to the Market?
The?Government?will continue to comment and advise the best course of?action,?so it is important to stay?up–to–date?with current news and NHS guidelines. This may mean your business has to react quickly to?fast–paced decisions.??
The Government is aiming to help as many businesses and UK citizens as possible through new measures such as adjusting the?statutory sick pay?and a?business rescue package. However, Partners, Directors?and?business owners?should create a plan?specific to?their?business,?which can be implemented quickly and have the?resources?in place to ensure a smooth?process.?Implementing early precautions can help your business in the?long–run?by reducing any spread of infection amongst your staff and customers.?
Remember, many of your customers may?have been advised to self-isolate at home so it’s important to adapt your communication methods to reach these individuals. Social media can be a great way to stay in touch and keep your customers updated of?any changing activities?or to simply reassure?them that you are open for business as usual.??
Continuing to attract?new customers may seem like a daunting task?on top of ensuring business continuity for existing customers,?the key is?reassuring?people?that you are continuing to operate?which will?help you to become a trusted brand?they can buy into.?
Are you resource ready??
A large demographic workforce can be very advantageous as it will allow you to continue operating even if some people fall sick. Although a young workforce is less likely to be sick, they may need to think about childcare requirements. It is important to be flexible?at this time?and ensure you have enough staff to complete?daily activities. You may be required to scale back certain resources to remain financially stable, therefore review your current projects and activities to create more focused priorities. ?
For onsite staff and visitors, suitable precautions will?need to?be taken to ensure the wellbeing of everyone?entering the building?including increased access to hand sanitiser?and cleaning routines.?Many industries such as airlines?and?commercial?vehicle suppliers?are undertaking a ‘deep clean’?which will allow healthy staff to continue working?once complete.??
After staff feedback,?mmadigital?installed accessible hand sanitisers?at?all entrances and exits of the building?before the outbreak,?which?has?reduced?the?potential of the virus spreading if brought into the office.?We also implement a clear desk policy to minimise?unnecessary items on?staff desks?and keep everything as clean as possible during working hours.?
Are you digitally ready??
Many businesses have undertaken a large digital transformation in the?past?10 years, bringing software and services up to speed with the latest technology.?During this time,?when?flexible working may become?compulsory, businesses can take advantage of?these?tools?and?software?already in place?that will allow staff to work efficiently at home and continue communicating with clients.?See our other article on?flexible working.?
At mmadigital, we?have already?implemented?a number of?technological tools and solutions to ensure our business is always up and running?for staff and clients?including:?
- Systems and services to allow staff to work from home if required?such as?ready to go?laptops, portable headphones?and wi-fi connected systems.??
- Online collaborative services like Microsoft?Teams?to allow projects and activities?to continue?without?disruption.?
- Cloud-based software?to securely access data?and continue our usual activities?i.e.?Natterbox?Cloud Solutions?&?Salesforce?CRM?allowing?us to continue answering and transferring?enquiries?to our panel members.?
- Digital access for?our?customers?using our online?Lead Management Portal?that?allows?panel members to access their leads and enquiries?24/7.?
- Online meeting services?such as?GoToMeeting?allowing us to undertake online demos and meetings with?current and potential customers?as normal.?
Digital capability is a huge advantage for businesses?who should ensure?systems?&?software?are?kept?up–to–date?and?have IT guidance easily?available?for anyone struggling.?For small to medium sized businesses, we recommend nominating a single person to?manage any I.T. related issues?(with a backup of course!)?for?home-based?users, so all end users know who to contact?during this period.?
It will be important to react quickly to changing circumstances while ensuring you fulfil your services to current customers and staff. If you are worried or believe you have contracted COVID-19, then please follow?NHS guidance?and your own internal company policy to protect the wellbeing of staff, visitors, clients,?yourself?and the wider public.??