As the Government prepares a strategy for lifting lockdown and easing restrictions, this new period should present opportunities for businesses to get back on track.
It may be that you will need to adapt your business practices, product and service offering, and the way you communicate with customers and staff, in order to comply with any remaining restrictions. There will be challenges ahead for sure, but now really is the time to start working out how you can adapt your business to the ‘new normal’ to make it profitable in the future.
Support the local community
Right now, many businesses are either closed or are operating with restricted services, but whilst in full lockdown, you can still be working, perhaps just in another capacity.
Some businesses have found creative ways to support their local communities during these difficult times. Some are offering food donations to NHS workers, some are delivering food parcels directly to the elderly residents or are offering other services to support keyworkers and the vulnerable. Adding the NHS Rainbow to your work vehicles is also a great way to show your support.
Many people are setting themselves personal challenges to raise money to help support the NHS workers and other charities during lockdown, so there are likely plenty of opportunities to pledge your support to local fundraisers, or even set up your own fundraising challenge that will get you and your team motivated and involved.
Showing support and empathy, and helping your local community at the time they need it the most, will be remembered.
Show empathy & sensitivity to staff
Your staff are the most essential part of your business.
Keeping in contact with all of them in these troubled times is essential, but any communication must be conducted with empathy and sensitivity, and some much needed positivity.
The mental well-being of your employees is really important, now more than ever, and different people will respond to the situation in a different ways. You may need to adapt the way you communicate with some members of staff. Some of your employees will be ok being furloughed, whilst others may be struggling to cope.
When in contact use the time to engage with them on what is currently happening, and more importantly, going to happen in the future. Ask them to share their ideas in this different setting (not in office or workplace). Doing so will allow stars to shine that you may have previously undervalued, and it will give your staff confidence in your leadership. You will want them to know you are moving the business forwards, and that you want them to be a part of its future.
Give your team a morale boost
For the first time everyone has had to alter their lives in a way that was unimaginable two months ago. People now have time to reflect on their work/life balance, and they may well have a different view on life when they return to work, so priorities may change. But don’t react too quickly, or too harshly, if the success of your business doesn’t appear to be at the top of everyone’s list right now.
This is a time when there is a lot of panic and constantly changing information, so you will need to show patience and understanding and be ready to provide support when needed.
To keep team morale up, consider inviting staff to participate in online team events. Pub quizzes are a simple option which run mainly on Thursday nights, maybe gaming competitions for younger work forces.
Find the answers
How will you start trading again? Do you need a full team? Can some staff continue to work from home? What needs to change to comply with current restrictions? Can you implement a social distancing policy? Can you install extra hand sanitisers in the workplace?
You will have lots and lots of questions to answer, from staff, from suppliers, from customers. You will need to be prepared with answers to these questions, and many more, but you can help to reduce what is likely to be a bombardment of questions by communicating effectively to these groups of people before you become fully operational again.
Communicate with sensitivity
Communication is key right now, but it is important to adapt the way you communicate at this time. It can be a challenge to work out what is appropriate during such unprecedented times, but try to be sensitive and keep the tone positive, inspirational and helpful.
When communicating with customers, what they need right now from you is transparency. Provide useful information about your opening hours, service provision and delivery schedule, whilst also posting content that identifies with customer’s needs. Modify your offers, ease up on urgent CTAs, offer easier payment options or free delivery. Show customers you care about them, and your staff.
Your conduct in these troubled times will be reflected in your company’s future. If you have treated people fairly and with compassion, there will be more loyalty to you from customers, suppliers and employees. Adapting to the ‘new normal’ will give your business a chance to flourish once again.
Whizz Marketing is a Google Partner SEO & Marketing Agency in Fleet, Hampshire. If you would like SEO or marketing support, please get in touch on 01252 622129 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.whizzmarketing.co.uk for further information.