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In life, there are always lessons that we can learn from mistakes we have made, to the way life goes. During covid, the entire world has been learning a new way to do business and to run our everyday lives as this pandemic goes on. The “new normal” will not be business as usual, and companies that recognize this have a better chance at survival.
One thing is certain- our entire way of living, including how we raise and teach our children has been affected. Being able to provide for ourselves and our families takes a few pieces that work together. We need to have income coming in on a regular basis, affordable and flexible childcare, and health insurance. When business owners put these items at the forefront, their employees are able to navigate the waters of working from home or on an adjusted schedule much easier.
Some companies have taken a look at their current child care plans and made modifications to them. This may include the flexibility of incorporating time slots during the day to stop working and take time to go for a walk with your child or your animals if you have them. This gives the employee a break and lets them enjoy having their children home with them. Kids are having to change the way they are taught, so this can help break the monotony of the day.
This is a good time to look at the healthcare plans that you as a business owner offer. Is it adequate to the needs of your employees? If you do not offer a healthcare plan, make sure your employees know how to and have the resources to apply for the state insurance.
Now let’s visit a somewhat touchy subject. Communication between you as the business owner, and your employees. They are looking to you to help them keep their livelihood going.
Look for ways to include them in the conversation. Surveys work really well for this. They can be anonymous or not, but it gives your employee a chance to be heard and to offer suggestions that you may not have thought about as a business owner. Through trial and error, they can give insight on how an at home workstation can be more effective.
Asking about how their at home workstation is setup is important. This space is where they will be doing all of their daily tasks that were done in a 9 to 5 atmosphere. These duties may now be done at any time interval in the day that works best for their schedule. Having inadequate computers or equipment to work from will only frustrate the situation. The goal is to create an atmosphere of creativity and productivity while allowing for the flexibility of life happening in front of them.
As a business owner, taking this into account should be high on your list of priorities. Check in with your team to make sure they are well. You don’t need to pry into all of their personal business, but knowing if they are feeling stressed or overwhelmed with the way things are going is important. Offering wellness fairs in a conference setting and making it a fun and interactive event can build morale as well as give your employees resources they need to take care of their health. This should be a very intentional part of your business model, not a one time gig.
Sick time can be reworked to include separate sick time for employees that have covid, so that they can still have time available if they get sick in the future
As business owners, you understand that a business cant survive on happy employees alone. You need capital. Do you know where to find it or how to take advantage of the programs available?
This may require some work, but it will pay off in the end- literally. Grants are available to many companies at this time, even the very small companies. The CDC is a good resource to use if you aren’t sure where to start. They have links available to several government programs available to businesses. Also, check with your local SBA centers. You will find things that can benefit your business that you may have never thought of.
Many of these lessons are ongoing. By paying close attention to the changes of the workplace and the economy, you can successfully navigate these covid times successfully.