At Kush Tools Marketing Group, we've been monitoring the impact that the Coronavirus has been having on businesses from across the globe. This unfortunate and economically crippling pandemic has disrupted a multitude of operations including the (already fragile) health care system(s), educational facilities, and of course; the flow of operations for everyone from the mom's and pop's to the large-scale corporations.
As many Canadians remain isolated and non-essential stores have been ordered to close their doors, its crucial now more than ever that we rely on the resources and support systems around us to guide our way through what will be very turbulent times.
For some, this may mean ramping up your social media efforts, finally setting up your employees remotely, or making the switch to virtual consulting. It may also be time to search for flaws you have within the infectious disease protocols of your business - and it may be a good time to begin implementing new measures, such as encouraging social distancing among your employees, or offering your clientele hand sanitizer at the door.
It's incredibly important that we, collectively, prep for the disruptions ahead, and it's imperative at this time for companies to invest in the digital advances they may have been putting off previously.
Advertising in print?
Stop it altogether.
Advertising on commercial spaces, such as billboards of bus stops?
Don't renew your contract anytime soon.
No way to have your office employees work from home?
Its time to figure it out.
In order for your business to remain (somewhat) functioning during this time you have to shift the majority of your efforts to the digital world. And if you've already done that, we have some further advice for you, too.
How Has Covid-19 Impacted Businesses?
History's most recent pandemic has impacted businesses in a variety of ways.
Expedia, for example, was so overwhelmed with cancellations their systems began to slow and hold times dramatically increased. It became near impossible to get someone on the line. Currently, it is estimated they have lost about half a million dollars in revenue as hundreds of thousands of travelers (in America alone) began frantically canceling their flights and hotel bookings, as early as March of this year.
For other businesses, product cancellations have been seen across the board, due to increased shipping times and inability to access pickup points. Some businesses are also having trouble fulfilling their orders at this time, usually due to a disruption in their supply chain. New businesses are seeing empty launch weeks and new products are typically not being introduced at this time. We have several clients who are postponing product launches due to this pandemic.
On top of that, businesses are being impacted on a much larger scale if their products are imported by land/air as many international borders have now closed. Many tradesmen have had to put their tools away and lay off employees, delaying construction and development across the globe. As most people are no longer traveling (as they shouldn't be), hotels are empty, car rental locations have shut their doors, and airports are becoming more and more vacant.
Most recently, airlines have begun laying off their employees by the thousands.
If you're a business owner who is worried about supply chain disruption, EDC has released a webinar on managing the impact of the pandemic, which may be of use to you at this time.
How to Support Your Employees During Covid-19
It's no secret that we need to help one another during this crisis and that extends to the well-being of your staff.
If it's possible, and you have not already done so, encourage your employees to work from home and help them settle into their altered role with as much ease as possible.
If your employees cannot do their duties from their home and have to work within a physical structure or closed quarters of some kind, increase the amount of hand sanitizer stations located throughout your facility and switch increase the frequency of your current cleaning schedule.
Meet with your cleaning staff and implement new protocols related to disinfecting your business' location.
Move all your meetings and consultations to a digital platform.
If you do not an infection control plan it's time to create one. Your ICP needs to include policies and procedures for prevention, containment, and management of diseases and infections.
Add or increase social distancing measures, as mentioned above. You can do this by diminishing or eliminating face to face encounters among your staff and developing improved strategies for when and where breaks are being taken.
Allow your employees any time off that they need if they are asking for it due to reasons of illness or fear of illness.
Create an Emergency Response Plan
We know - where was this advice months ago? We didn't think of it, either.
Emergencies and disasters of any size can take place without sufficient notice - as did this current global public health pandemic. It’s important that you have a plan in place and your business is prepared in the event of an emergency.
An Emergency Response and Disaster Plan, also known as an ERDP, will be a key support to you now and in the future. If you didnt have one before Covid-19, creating an ERDP as soon as possible may help you find your way through some of the thick smoke we're facing today.
This plan should be designed to provide guidance to you, your staff, and your customers, focusing on structure and support. When it comes to uncertain futures, as many businesses are facing today, an effective response to a crisis will help to mitigate some of the damage that is inflicted on the business as a whole. A well developed ERDP will also help your company to recover more efficiently.
When it comes to creating your emergency response and disaster plan, keep it simple, obtainable, and easy to read. Determine what vulnerabilities your business may face in the event of different scenarios, and plan accordingly per those situations.
The most important thing is that we all try our best to remain healthy and vigilant during this time. Practice social distancing, take care of your employees, focus on innovation, and stay safe.