Strategies and advice for businesses to stay in control through COVID-19 and get ahead of the pack

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COVID-19 Business Continuity – 1st June

I’m here with the COVID-19 business continuity update on 1st June, 2020

We heard Premier Dan Andrews say on Friday, “If you can work from home, you must work from home.”

As the voice of business, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has expressed their disappointment and addressed their concerns to the Premier’s office. In his email, VCCI Chief Executive, Paul Guerra said,

“Understandably, many of our members reacted strongly to this announcement.”

The pivotal point to consider is whether your employee can work from home. Many of you have discussed with your business mentors the impact that working from home is having on the outcomes of the business.

Many businesses have worked around people’s nervousness about the virus, and parents’ home-schooling obligations. But some businesses are suffering as the result of remote working:
• Costly mistakes are being made
• Work can’t be done at all or isn’t getting done on time
• Information relied on for key business decisions is missing or incomplete
• Sales and marketing activity isn’t being done or can’t be done from home
• More pressure on those staff who are still in the office (answering phones, managing deliveries, and logistics of coordinating work)

If your employee is not able to deliver the outcomes your business needs by working from home, then you need to identify a solution before this has too great a detrimental financial impact on your business.

For some roles, working in the office with co-workers is integral to the business to operate properly. Without that, it puts the future financial stability and therefore everyone’s jobs in jeopardy.

Here are the 4 steps I recommend to address work from home (WFH) arrangements with your team:

Step 1. Send an email
Write an email to your team to let them know that you are planning to review the work from home arrangements.

Inform them that you will be having a consultation session to gather their views on their experience working from home, and to discuss the pros and cons of the arrangement.

Step 2. Consult with your team
• Lead a group discussion with your team on the advantages and disadvantages of WFH:
– What’s working well?
– What are some of the challenges people faced?
– Ask for examples, details and explanations. This helps people feel heard and also helps ensure you have a good understanding of the points raised.

• As the business owner, clearly explain the impact that WFH is having on the business. Some of the common issues that WFH may be causing in your business are:
– Sales are down
– Critical mistakes are occurring
– Business owner is having to work many more hours because you need to cover for other roles
– Pipeline of work is low
– Enquiries and prospect leads are being missed

• Explain how working at your business compares versus the risk of infection in the wider business community. For example transportation (i.e. staff who drive their own cars to work vs commuters who use public transport) and shared facilities with other businesses (i.e. common area lifts versus self-contained offices).

• Discuss a possible transition process for people to return to the workplace. For example:
50% of people work in the office for the week, the remaining 50% work from home. The swap each week. (Your business coach will be working with you to develop suitable options for your individual business.)

• Outline any flexible WFH arrangement you might continue on an ongoing basis.

• Explain the enhanced sanitisation and hygiene protocols and social distancing steps you will put in place. (Here’s a link to Safe Work Australia: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/covid-19-information-workplaces)

Step 3. Document the consultation
Document the results of the consultation and the steps to move forward. For example:
From 1/6/20 – 1st week in the office
From 13/6/20 – 2nd week in the office

Step 4. Follow up with people
Contact each team member individually to ensure they are comfortable and feel safe with the arrangement.

Discuss with your business coach the process and outcomes and any follow on strategies that may be required.

Ash

Ashley Thomson B.Eng(Hons), Grad. Dip. Mgmt, MEI
Managing Director
Tenfold Business Coaching

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