A Business’ Response to the COVID-19 Virus
In difficult times, human nature frequently has us pulling together. The other response can sometimes be to look out for number one, ourselves. I believe in the greater good of humanity, however, and think that we try to help one another more often than leave each other out in the cold. During COVID-19, however, we are not given options but rather told to ‘Keep our distance’ from everyone. It is not only good to consider what we need to do personally, but also consider a business’ response to COVID-19 global pandemic.
Made to Separate
Unfortunately, in this global tragedy, we are being told to separate and stay away from one another. In a Country that usually pulls together, it is difficult to stay away. If we work virtually from home and live alone this can be very isolating, leaving many grappling with how to cope personally and professionally. In order to be healthy personally and professionally, the first place to begin is the mindset.
Our Mindset has to be where we begin because unless this is right, nothing else will be right or even matter. When life hits us with tragedy or difficult circumstances, it will evoke emotions. We have to deal with those emotions and our mindset. If we do not acknowledge our emotions the tendency is to react to circumstances rather than respond. Do you usually react or respond?
React Or Respond
What is the difference between reacting and responding?
To react is to take immediate action without much forethought. Reacting comes from a place of emotion and often not from taking the time to think it through.
React or Reaction – ” 1: to exert a reciprocal or counteracting force or influence —often used with on or upon. 2: to change in response to a stimulus. 3: to act in opposition to a force or influence —usually used with against. 4: to move or tend in a reverse direction. ”React | Definition of React by Merriam-Webster
On the other hand, responding is very different. Responding is more thought out and not usually as quick or emotional as a reaction. In discussing this topic from a Human Resources point of view, I found this to express a very wise sentiment.
“There is a huge difference between reacting and responding. A reaction is typically quick, without much thought, tense and aggressive. A response is thought out, calm and non-threatening. A reaction typically provokes more reactions.”According ACACIA HR Solutions
Past tragic circumstances usually have been localized in one area. Now, however, the COVID-19 virus has affected nearly the entire globe. Whether it be by the virus itself or through economic reaches most countries are impacted today by these circumstances. As a business, we have to choose if we will react or respond. What would responding look like in your business?
What Is A Business To Do
As we respond to this Global tragedy it is good to remember the basics first. The ‘how to’s in running a business in general.
“The coronavirus pandemic is affecting small businesses in a variety of ways. From loss of business to remote work, things are changing fast during the COVID-19 outbreak and businesses are being forced to adapt.”US Chamber
Basic Steps For Running A Business.
1. Prepare Ahead – as we have seen our Leaders all over the world rush to prepare after the fact, it is evident why it is so important to prepare prior to any disaster. If prepared, a business can be ready for almost anything.
2. Backup – it is important in our daily activities to be sure we have a backup of all our systems in place. Backup the computer files via the cloud and hard drives. You can also pay for a service to do this if you are likely to forget this everyday activity. Also having cyber insurance coverage can help cover any losses due to cyber-attacks. Covering your business in this way is at the top of the priorities list.
More Steps During COVID-19
3. Processes & Systems – having these in place is imperative! Seeing how important it is today, how will it affect the ‘new normal’ when it should begin? If I am ill, I have to be sure that my team can carry out all of the duties needed in my absence. COVID-19 only brings out the importance of this but verifies again why this should be the #2 on the priorities list. Ask yourself, ‘would my business survive without me?’ Be sure it can live on even if you are away, no matter the circumstances.
4. Check Insurance Coverage – this is important to do on a regular basis, but especially for times like these. Double-check to see what coverage you have and what your agent may suggest for disastrous times like these. There is even coverage for interruption of work.
“Many businesses have business interruption insurance; Now is the time to contact your insurance agent to review your policy to understand precisely what you are and are not covered for in the event of an extended incident.”Small Business Association
5. Replacement Leadership – whether you are a solopreneur or mid-size company having people in place who carry the weight and make decisions should we be absent is life or death to the company. Train and show this person (or persons) the processes and systems in place, what daily activities are done and then also show any monthly, quarterly and yearly activities that may need to be done if you must be away.
I learned this through a difficult hospital stay a couple of years ago when I nearly died. My team was able to carry on wonderfully and client work was not interrupted. The one thing I had not done, however, was to write down the daily processes and systems I do, not just what the team does every day. Therefore when it was time to invoice clients so that my team could be paid, there was no one who could do this and it had to be put off for a week or two until I could have my daughter’s help (she is on our team), which affected the whole team. I am also adding these Processes & Systems to the manual so that if this should happen again someone will be able to run through all of my processes.
And More COVID-19 Responses
6. Communication – how will you communicate if there is a disaster? Putting plans in place for all of these contingencies increase the likelihood of our company being able to survive during any pandemic, natural disaster, or even if you become ill for a short time. One way to quickly communicate with your team could be texting as well as a way to communicate with your audience to provide them up to date information.
7. Work Virtually – if you have never worked virtually this must be an even more difficult time. Working virtually is a great way to be able to do the work, especially with all of the tools we have today. Zoom, Join.me, and Log Me In are a few of the top virtual meeting programs that can be used. The main thing when working from home if to stay focused. Assigning a room for ‘work only’ at this time can help focus stay on the work, rather than the cat doing crazy things you want to film, or the kids coming in and jumping all over you, and other interruptions to the workflow.
8. Continue to Network – this is especially important at a time like this. Networking is more important than ever as it is necessary to continue building the business. Many businesses have shut down completely and there is nothing they can do from home. This is where networking will be key to the survival of the business. Keep in touch with customers is a must until the business is open again. There are numerous ways to network with current clients/customers and even reach new ones.
Ways to Network During COVID-19
- Social Media Platforms
- Virtual Meeting Rooms (Zoom, Join.me, etc.)
- Other Online Groups
- Send Emails
- Phone Calls
9. Plan, Back-Up, & Review – are important to remember even in good times. If we plan ahead, back up all of our files, and review our processes and systems in place with another leader or person who can take the reigns if necessary, we will be ready for anything.
Most of all – Stay Safe and Stay Healthy! Keep your employees healthy by allowing for flexible work. Also, remember there are a ton of resources for businesses and their employees. Apply for one of the loans if applicable (Freelancers & Individual Business Owners can apply). Help your employees if needed with unemployment.
We can still come together, even if virtually, during this time. Help someone else in business today by purchasing something, setting up services you have been holding off on or simply by reaching out to network. We need one another.
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Stay Safe & Healthy Friends!
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