With COVID-19 affecting us all in some way, from serious health complications for vulnerable groups - impacting communities and public services - to unavoidable changes for businesses of all sizes, it is a time of significant adjustment.
Understandably, many companies will feel overwhelmed at this time, focusing on the welfare of their families and workforce, and while such matters are an absolute priority, for businesses looking to utilise this potentially quiet period to re-evaluate business processes and develop new ideas, we have listed some opportunities to better your business.
If you have a staff suggestion box that is near overflowing, there is no better time to go through it. You may find some constructive criticism that you can work to address and plan a solution around. For example, if an employee suggests implementing a recycling scheme or would like more company social events to help with team building, you can consider these ideas going forward to help improve your working environment and staff satisfaction.
To improve long-term productivity, it is worth noting down tools and equipment (from computer equipment and software to office furniture) which could help your staff focus and organise their time. For instance, task manager apps like Asana allow you to assign and track tasks, which could take some pressure off your busy Managers and their teams to remember everything they need to do - allowing for better accountability.
Also, by considering how you can streamline and make your office space more comfortable, you are likely to see considerable improvements in terms of productivity and employee satisfaction. With adequate natural light in your office, separate spaces for work and recreational use, and adjustable workstations that you can tailor to the individual, your staff are likely to be much more content and productive at work.
During the UK lockdown, it will not be possible for you to go out and buy the necessary furniture and equipment in-store, but we would suggest bookmarking items you like the look of on your computer, or if you would like, ordering them online. You can also use platforms like Pinterest to collate images of office interior inspiration.
Before many businesses had to allow employees to work from home or needed to close their doors temporarily, there may have been occasions where you felt concerned about the health and safety of your staff and whether you were adequately equipped to protect them.
Now is the time to reflect on this and think about ways you can ensure better health and safety measures are in place. This includes having a designated health and safety officer, outsourcing a regular cleaner, ensuring all bathrooms and kitchens have anti-bacterial hand wash, and depending on your sector, providing comprehensive training to staff on how they can protect themselves, their colleagues and customers.
You can find more information on health and safety and your business’s compliance on the government-backed HSE website.
If you have closed your business temporarily or you are experiencing a quieter time than usual, you can use this period to do the admin tasks you don't usually have time to complete. This could include going through and organising paperwork, filling in expenses forms, reviewing KPIs, updating webpages on your website that may be out of date, or even refreshing your company's social media channels with new graphics, updated information and links.
Across the world, everyone is experiencing a highly unusual and worrying time, so if you find it helpful to concentrate on tasks that you often struggle to make time for, doing so could benefit of your business and your state of mind. However, this truly depends on the individual and the current circumstances surrounding your business.
From checking through your competitors' social media channels, browsing their websites, and taking a look at their new products, you can get to know what choices competitor businesses within your field are making and how effective they are.
Using tools like Talkwalker's Quick Search, you can access an overview of your company's social media channels and content and compare it with your competitors. This will help you identify opportunities you are missing out on and find popular trends in your sector to incorporate into your marketing strategy, which will allow you to plan for when your business is functioning as usual once more. By taking the time to do this research and adapt your marketing strategy according, you are likely to improve conversions, brand awareness and engagement.
We hope that businesses able to take the time to think of ways to improve internal processes and strategies have found this article to be a useful resource. Above all, we wish you well during this challenging time and send our best wishes to everyone struggling during this outbreak and lockdown. Stay safe.