At midnight tonight NZ goes into lock down. As an owner of a SME this will impact your people and your business – physically, financially, and emotionally. With the tight time frame many of you will have been frantic getting remote set up organised and negotiating / liaising with your staff, customers and suppliers.
Tomorrow, is the new reality, for the next 4 weeks at least.
This is the time to be human and humane and recognise that people deal with stress in different ways. Some people may still be in shock, some will be worried about their finances, others will find working from home difficult and challenging, while others will be scared about their health or the health of their loved ones.
This is the time to be patient, kind and caring.
Businesses who can work remotely
Some businesses, like Q2 Ltd, will be able to operate full time remotely from home. There will still be challenges, such as:
|Ensuring you are healthy and productive||Keep your normal routines and work hours, schedule breaks and exercise. Most importantly, control your calendar and block time for both working in and on your business.|
Ensuring your team are happy and productive
|Daily Zoom scrum meetings to engage and touch base with everyone, agree on priorities, discuss operational issues, ensure everyone has the resources and support they need.|
|Ensuring your customers are looked after||More regular communication is key here, let customers know how you will be operating and ask how you can assist.|
|Working with children at home||Agree on working hours with staff, be flexible as it may be necessary to reduce a 40 hour week to a 25 or 30 hours. Dual parent families can take “kid shifts” so one parent can continue to work.|
|Tech issues, including unstable internet connections||Working remotely means we are heavily dependent on technology and having good tech support in place is critical. It may be necessary to work at times when fewer people are using internet.|
|Pivoting||If there is not enough “business as usual” work to keep the team busy, initiate new projects, undertake research, design marketing plans & campaigns, product or service development and /or personal development training, review and improve internal processes, update job descriptions to utilise the time in a valuable way.|
|Staying positive||Maintaining a sense of humour to offset all the negativity – share some funny jokes by email, pick up the phone and have a good belly laugh with someone, switch off “bad news” media, take a walk (solo) and enjoy the beautiful autumn weather. It’s still a beautiful world.|
|Boredom||Weekend activities will be curtailed and there are only so many hours a day you can watch Netflix! This is a great opportunity to spring clean to house / garage, weed the garden, paint the fence, cook new recipes, start a new home based hobby, mend things, catch up on your email backlog or reading list.|
For those businesses who cannot operate remotely it is still important to communicate and engage regularly with your people. Weekly Zoom meetings and implementing pivot projects so that team members can use their time to grow themselves and/or the business may be possible. What about a friendly competition of some type among team members?
“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”