Best Business Practices for Operating Through COVID-19
Things are changing daily as COVID-19 continue to impact our communities and our businesses. Tough decisions are being made and the global spread is affecting every one of us.
We are all responding and adapting in our own way – many without guidance in what is unchartered territory. At Higher Information Group, we are committed to doing what we can to help our customers and our community emerge stronger. We’ve pulled together some best practices that may be useful as you work to keep your business running and your employees healthy.
Communication to your employees should be swift and transparent. When you are sharing information, make sure it if up-to-date and accurate. Refer to credible and verified sources like the CDC website. Be wary of myths or unsubstantiated stories that get passed around online.
While this is most certainly a challenging time for everyone, your employees are looking to you for responsible leadership and it is your obligation to show up for them and facilitate a sense of wellbeing. A good rule of thumb – share what you know when you know it – providing it’s relevant. Employees will understand that you don’t have all of the answers but sharing the information you do have builds trust and reduces uncertainty.
You will likely need to review, modify and even create new policies to remain flexible with the ever-changing environment. All changes and the expectation of how long they will last should be communicated regularly through designated channels that everyone has access to.
One last note about employee communication. Don’t stop talking after the crisis ends! Keep the conversation going and discuss how things could be improved upon in future circumstances.
We are all in this together and nobody knows what will happen from one day to the next. If you can be of value to your customers, be sure to communicate that. Similarly, if you are doing good in the community or taking important steps to safeguard your employees and your customers, let it be known.
While customers can be empathetic to a business in crisis if it is communicated properly, be careful not to be overly opportunistic.
If your organization or community has an abundance of various resources, pulling them together in a comprehensive format can be useful. The HIG web team recently worked with the York County Economic Alliance to develop and launch PreparedYork.com, and then a few days later, PreparedCentralPA.com. The sites compile information to assist business, nonprofits and employees with critical resources useful in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adapt Operations as Needed
Provide limited services. We are currently seeing many companies adapt to the current environment and offer a single line of business.
Look for additional ways to safely stay connected and productive in your community. If possible, shift more focus online. Other suggestions might include organizing a timely community event, hosting virtual trainings or gatherings for your customers or clients, offer free phone consultations, free shipping, delivery, etc. Be as creative as possible to find ways to be of value to your audience during this time.
Keep Employees and Customers Healthy
Follow CDC recommendations on proper cleaning and disinfection. Provide resources for employees on proper hygiene in the workplace and any specific procedures that have been put in place.
Keep symptomatic employees at home – If an employee showing respiratory symptoms does come to work, they should be sent home immediately.
Offer Flexible Working Arrangements
Though not always practical, allowing employees to work remotely is the best way to prevent the spread of the virus. Take advantage of the many platforms that make it possible to effectively communicate and collaborate from anywhere.
Suspend unnecessary business travel and be cognizant of the fact that many working parents are now juggling children that are not in school.
Remember that we are all swimming in these unchartered waters together. Let’s be our best selves and make sure we have each other’s backs by putting responsible policies in place, adhering to guidelines communicated through health organizations and government agencies, and by practicing respect and kindness.
At HIG, we are committed to the communities where we live & work.
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