Getting grounded: Implications for business
Monday, August 03, 2020
We may all be ready to be done with the coronavirus, but the virus isn’t ready to be done with us.
While airports and airlines are doing what they can to keep their facilities clean, the bottom line is not that many people are ready to take on either the risk of flying, or the discomfort of spending several hours on a plane wearing a mask. International flights are few and far between, since many countries are limiting visitors from virus hot spots, like the United States.
As a result, some of the short-term changes to how and where we work may turn out to be more longer-term than we ever expected. Not only do we need to maintain social distance and wear masks when out and about near others, but we also have to face the fact that for the most part, we’ve all been grounded.
What do you need to do to be as effective as possible given these constraints? Here are six things to consider:
Rethink how to get things done. We’ve never done it that way before is no longer an acceptable approach. What worked through February of this year likely won’t work today — or any time soon.
So, what do you need to change? What processes and procedures can you put in place to make it easy to do business with you — today?
Not traveling, but not in the office either. Your employees may not be on business travel, but they’re likely not sitting in your offices either. If they’re working from home, they’re adapting to new challenges and new technologies.
They may not be used to having spouses, children, and pets around while they try to work. And they may have to step in and help their kids with schoolwork as well. What can you do to help employees be productive with this new arrangement?
Suppliers are stuck. Everything that’s happening to you is probably happening to your suppliers, too. Not only may their supply chains be disrupted, but they’re also trying to navigate home-based workforces and the inability to do things the way they did before. Be patient and be flexible.
Customers are stuck, too. On the other side of the equation, your customers are facing similar challenges. It not just you that can no longer travel to see your customers and prospects. They can’t travel to see their customers and prospects either. They may not be able to operate their normal facilities or offer their regular products and services.
What can you do to help them remain competitive? How can you show added value?
Understand the ripple effects. When someone tests positive for COVID-19, it’s not just that individual who’s affected. Their family and friends need to isolate to make sure they’re not infected, and co-workers who may have been exposed need to be tested as well. The more people exposed, the less likely it is we can return to any kind of normal work environment any time soon.
That’s why it’s so important to maintain clean workspaces and to insist that anyone who enters your facility wear a mask. Offer testing to those who need or ask for it, and work closely with your local health officials when necessary to ensure as safe a work environment as possible.
Hope is not a strategy. We all hope this situation resolves itself quickly, that the virus is effectively contained soon, and treatments and vaccines are available fairly quickly. But hope alone will not keep a business viable.
Now’s the time to develop scenarios for how your business might be impacted if the pandemic rages another six, 12, or 18 months. What do you need to do now to prepare for a longer-term scenario?
This is certainly not the business environment we all expected at the beginning of this year, but this is where we are today. Take the actions needed to make the most of the situation. Even though your feet are solidly grounded, there’s no reason you can’t continue to reach for the stars.
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