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Navigating your business through to the new COVID normal

 

The ‘new normal’ has become the main focus of 2020 for businesses as workplaces try to navigate the unforeseen changes caused by COVID-19.

With COVID-19 negatively impacting two-thirds of businesses across all sectors, many businesses face similar key challenges, including retaining business and customers and managing costs to remain financially afloat.

With restrictions varying around the country, with some businesses beginning to reopen with eased restrictions and others being forced to shut once again, there is certainly no ‘one size fits all’ approach for business success.

Business owners must continue to respond to rapidly changing situations and keep a dynamic and adaptable approach.

The following tips may help to support and rebuild your business.

Resilience and Clarity

A good place to start is by looking at how the business can understand and support employees to take accountability for and build their own resilience. A leader’s first priority should be to strengthen their own and their teams’ ability to cope with our current reality.

Focusing on physical and mental wellbeing, while earning trust and communicating clearly will help managers empower their team and ultimately the business to effectively manage the abnormal.

While leading through uncertainty, its necessary to adapt with expert advice and transparently talk to the facts to gain employees’ trust and let them know that the business is looking out for them. In return, they’ll be motivated to ensure the survival of the business.

Connecting

It’s important it is to connect with other businesses to understand and learn from each other. Many employers are adapting to similar challenges, so getting insights from the people with similar goals will inform different approaches to pass onto your business.

In the workplace, connection is just as important, not only for sharing ideas but for building the culture, which is what will ultimately see a business through hard times.

Look after your staff

Businesses perform best when employees feel safe and supported, so it’s important to consider how staff feel about returning to work, and what they need to feel comfortable. Business owners should consider which roles can be done remotely, and those already managing a remote workforce should expect a mix of preferences, from those looking forward to face-to-face time, to those who would prefer to work from home as much as possible.

Remote working can provide significant cost savings and efficiencies for some businesses, as the reduced physical head count may enable downsizing to a smaller space and savings on supplies.

Planning ahead

With so much out of our control in business and in life, it’s crucial to plan and strategize for success to give yourself the best chances of reaching the desired outcome. If you have a plan, you’ll be able to adapt far easier.

Have a clear vision, carry out the actions and focus on what you can do.

Continue to offer delivery and virtual services alongside physical trade

Despite many people being eager to return to their local pub, café, restaurant or favourite shops, not everyone is ready for non-essential outings just yet. Elderly Australians and people with compromised immunity, or those living with someone who is more vulnerable to COVID-19, may want to limit face-to-face interactions until there is a vaccine available or minimal community spread.

If you have adopted practices to attract and continue serving customers online during the pandemic, make sure to keep them up. You may have gained a new group of customers through this that you wouldn’t want to lose.

COVID-19 has drastically changed the way we communicate, work, shop, exercise and access services including health care and education. For many Australians, the past few months have been a turning point, demonstrating that many tasks we once thought were only possible in-person can now be achieved more efficiently and flexibly online. This may only be the beginning of how the pandemic will influence behaviours and shift perceptions in the long term, so business owners must continue to adapt, to maintain an effective workforce, meet their customers’ evolving expectations, maintain brand loyalty, and seize new opportunities to grow their customer base where possible.