As the world works to contain the spread of COVID-19 and our Government looks to set out the country’s exit strategy, businesses around Scotland have been rapidly evolving - and settling, into today’s new work-from-home environment.
While remote working has been the norm for several businesses for years, for most, COVID-19 has disrupted their day-to-day routine. It has forced many to change their operations, strategies and ultimately, the balancing of their teams.
Seven weeks ago this was a familiar story for our Business Gateway advisory team, as it was catapulted into a new way of working – all office phones were forwarded to mobiles and all workshops, masterclasses and face-to-face meetings immediately took place online. The unknown felt daunting. But, fast forward to today and there are a lot of ideas which we have been forced to implement in lockdown that we are seeing real value in. Some, we will even continue when lockdown is lifted.
We are not the only ones quickly adapting to change. A lot of our clients are looking at how they can diversify and run with reduced teams to continue operating during the pandemic, from eateries moving to meal prep deliveries to some offering new online delivery services and even those developing new products which can be sent directly to customers.
Although there is a lot of added value in being more connected and contactable, questions have been raised on how business owners and managers maintain productivity and motivation from their teams.
One key word, flexibility. At the beginning of lockdown I read the following quote – ‘you are not just working from home, you are at home working during a global pandemic.’ It has stuck with me since and I am sure many will find this relatable.
When running any kind of business, it is important to be mindful of your staff to ensure they don’t burn themselves out. For our team we have been varying work hours to suit around family and children, our flexible work policy still stands with advisers taking flexi-mornings/afternoons and – most importantly, we’ve still been meeting for a virtual breakfast roll on Fridays.
The opportunities being created as a result of lockdown are something businesses should be aware of. Has COVID-19 given us a wake-up call? Will these opportunities change the way businesses operate forever?
Even if the decision has been to close for the foreseeable, you still need to consider the impact our ‘new world’ will have on you.
Our 16 strong Business Gateway team has been working to ensure each client uses this time to evaluate, not only how their team will function after lockdown, but the potential for what their business model could look like.
It is imperative – before restrictions start to lift, that you think of how you can kick-start operations. Can you open initially with a skeleton team? Rotate staff working in the office, shop, warehouse? What cleaning products and safety precautions can you put in place?
A lot of the answers will be led following Government guidance but if you start prepping now you won’t be left on the back foot. Sharing these thoughts with your team will also see them work to be part of the bigger picture.
And, finally, I would advise continual engagement with you customer base, after all, these individuals are who you want through your door first.Back to all blogs