There's no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. It has now reached the stage where the government wants everyone to "learn to live with it" - whether people agree with that or not.
While it's true that COVID-19 has to be something people need to live with, like the common cold or the flu, there must still be measures in place to diminish the risk of the disease from spreading significantly.
In business, one way to achieve that goal is by making your premises, such as your office workspaces or your commercial or industrial unit, more COVID-19-friendly.
Doing so makes your working environment safer for employees. It also gives customers visiting your premises some peace of mind knowing that you're a responsible company that prioritises people's health and well-being.
Here are some actionable steps you can take to get started:
Increase The Distance Between Workspaces
The first thing you need to do is figure out how to increase the space between each desk or working area at your premises. If possible, spread each workstation further apart to enable a two-metre gap.
You may need to enlist the services of an office fit-out company if there is a need to relocate things like electrical and networking points.
Install Perspex Shields On Retail Counters
Do you have a customer-facing environment at your business premises? If so, you should look at ways of protecting your customers and staff from the spread of COVID-19.
One fantastic way to achieve that goal is by installing transparent perspex screens at counters and tills to provide a safe and effective barrier between people.
Install some hand sanitising stations
People continuously touch surfaces like desks, door handles, and even their faces, and those are the most common non-airborne ways to spread bacteria. The alcohol in hand sanitisers neutralises bacteria and stops them from spreading.
It's easy to install hand sanitiser "stations" across your premises, and the prices of hand sanitiser refill bottles are no longer astronomical like they were during the height of the pandemic.
Upgrade your WC facilities
Do your WCs leave something to be desired at your premises? If so, it's vital to get your commercial washroom design and installation on point and make any necessary improvements to help limit the spread of diseases like COVID-19.
For example, you may need to upgrade sinks or lay down new flooring to make it easier to keep those areas clean and sanitised.
Employ A Rigorous Cleaning Schedule
Lastly, following on from the subject of cleanliness, what cleaning schedule have you got at your premises? If you only have ad-hoc cleaning carried out, now's the time to implement a more rigorous and regular cleaning schedule.
Your new cleaning schedule should include strict surface sanitisation and cleanliness routines. Consider hiring a professional cleaning company with a proven track record of COVID-19 cleaning services.
The above points highlight some of the best ways to keep COVID-19 at bay and reduce the risk of transmission at your workplace. Most of those measures are straightforward and cheap to implement and will help slow the spread of the disease.
Fortunately, there is no news of a Coronavirus variant as we head into a new year. However, preventing Covid-19 in the workplace is no less critical than at the start of the pandemic. In fact, we can all benefit from sanitation vigilance to protect each other. And as an employer, you must take measures to protect your employees, so they stay productive through economic issues.
Health and Safety Responsibilities
Employers, owners, and managers have a responsibility to protect the welfare of their employees. There are already health and safety regulations, like the UK's Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. But when your employees are sick or at risk, you can't expect them to work well or even show up for work. However, you can take these steps to keep them healthy:
Social distancing is still relevant at the office and in public spaces. In most countries, masks are no longer required by law. But they still work great for reducing infection. Also, places like shopping malls and cinemas encourage mask-wearing for staying safe among the masses. However, as an employer, you can't force employees or clients to wear masks. And people who don't want to wear them don't have to. Therefore, you can offset any refusals and maximise the hygiene of your company with regular sanitation and social distancing of 2 meters.
Re-Organised Office Space
At the height of the lockdown, employees weren't allowed to work. People are back at work now that vaccination rates are high, and everything is normal. But safety is still a top priority, so organising your office might be necessary. For example, apps for hybrid offices allow desk reservation, so you don't have to work in cramped quarters. And schedule management apps like ToDoist and Trello are becoming popular among employers. Additionally, limiting people per desk and moving furniture will reduce contact.
Private companies cannot force employees into vaccination as it goes against human rights and personal beliefs. However, employees working for health care companies might be required to have had two doses of a vaccine before entering the premises. But as of February 2022, NHS workers aren't needed to vaccinate to continue working. And while you cannot force vaccination, there is nothing wrong with encouragement. Statistics show that the spread of infection is greatly reduced among the vaccinated, and booster shots increase efficacy.
Offer Remote Work
Remote work is nothing new, yet many employees have had little or no opportunity to work from relative safety. In addition, it is all but impossible for some roles. For instance, jobs that require meeting with others, machinery, dealing with the public or making deliveries. However, it is highly beneficial to offer remote work where you can. And recent data shows that productivity increases when employees don't need to come to work. It is believed people work better when they can work to their own schedule rather than a 9 to 5.
Let’s not beat around the bush, the COVID pandemic has been awful from a human and economic perspective. While there are very few positives to take from the experience, there’s no doubt that businesses have learned lessons over the last 18 months which might just play a role in a more positive future.
What lessons have businesses been forced to learn over this period?
People Come First
It’s always been something that’s been said, but when push comes to shove, how many businesses truly put their employees before business success. Suddenly, faced with national lockdowns and potentially serious employees illness and risk, many businesses have realised that their greatest asset is their people.
How To Bootstrap Their Finances
A lot of bloats can creep into company budgets, especially when times are good, but the sudden loss of revenue has led to companies learning how to try and achieve their goals with less and keep a very close eye on costs. While governments have put in place various Recovery Loan Schemes, furlough support and Stimulus packages, it’s still been down to the individual companies to balance their costs so when the financial outlook does improve, they know what they really need to spend money on and what they don’t.
A Remote Workforce Can Perform
A lot of companies have been reluctant to introduce remote working for a number of reasons in the past. It’s been seen as a perk of more creative industries and many have pushed against it fearing that it would lead to employees slacking off, or not performing. This hasn’t been the case at all and many businesses are keeping their remote options in place past the end of the epidemic.
The remote work shift was not without its problems as an increasingly stressed workforce tried to cope with homeschooling, isolation and anxiety around job security.
The lack of everyday social contact with colleagues was also exacerbated by restrictions on seeing friends and loved ones too.
How Agility Can Be The Difference Between Being In Business And Not
Companies that were able to adapt or pivot fast in response to events fared better than those that did not. Smaller, more agile companies found this much easier than the corporate behemoths in a lot of areas. Adapting business models quickly in order to take continue to trade through the COVID restrictions was often the difference between staying in business and not.
The Importance Of Business Continuity Planning
The business continuity plans of many businesses were found wanting when the pandemic struck, simultaneously affecting premises and workforce. Businesses who have built their plans around the loss of data or similar found their policies insufficient to cope with the level of disruption caused.
The COVID pandemic has been a watershed moment for the world in many respects. And we will be dealing with the repercussions of it for many years to come. Businesses that have survived the pandemic have been incredibly lucky and need to learn the lessons that trading through the pandemic has taught them in order to remain resilient in the future.
The last year has been hard for a lot of people and a lot of businesses. Some businesses have closed some of been close to not being able to reopen and others have had to adapt very quickly to make sure they are able to trade throughout the lockdown period. As things start to ease and restrictions start to become less and fewer businesses are taking the opportunity to get back on track and continue to thrive going forward looking forward to a fantastic summer. There are a few different things businesses will need to be doing to make sure that they can continue to grow and keep their customers coming back as well as attracting new ones over the next couple of months.
Cleanliness Is Key
One of the things that a lot of people will be concerned about is the cleanliness and safety of going back into the world and back of the shops and businesses. Showing your employees and your customers That you really care about their safety we’ll encourage them to come back time and time again. What of the things you can do is have a branded hand sanitiser station at the entrance of your shop or office so that when anyone comes into the premises they will now have readily available hand sanitiser as well as potentially a mask station where they can get a mask if they don’t have one and have their temperature checked to make sure that they and everyone else is as safe as can be. It will create a safe workspace in the post-pandemic era. It will also promote good hygiene levels throughout the business as a whole and having a branded hand sanitiser available is now the first point of safety for any business.
Keep Creating Content
Throughout lockdown, a lot of businesses have been trying to improve the digital content in lockdown. If they’ve not been able to trade, keeping active online has been one of the top priorities to make sure that people don’t forget about them. It has also given businesses time to improve the quality and type of content they are posting on their social channels and looking to help increase their following and engagement. Social media is important for any business and post-pandemic is just as important as it can help people decide whether or not they want to go to a particular restaurant or shop as they will look to see if these places are obeying the rules and looking after their customers.
Use Influencers To Your Advantage
Bloggers and influencers are a great way to get your message out to a wide audience and we have as well as getting a trusted and reliable voice to share their views and experiences they have with your business. Using them post-pandemic and while things easing is a great way to showcase the safety measures you’re putting in place to make shopping or working with you is safe and easy I will not put anyone at risk. If you aren’t sure where to start on work and bloggers or influences there are loads of agencies that have databases full of people who are great to work with.
The pandemic has hit millions of businesses around the world, causing them to make major cuts in employment, budget, and for some, permanent closure. If your small business has managed to make it this far, then you’re probably looking for ways to work smarter, decrease expenditure, and appeal to your target audience more than ever. Thankfully, even though the pandemic is still at large, many restrictions are being lifted, which is allowing businesses to continue trading. However, staying smart and vigilant is essential to help your business stay on track. Here are some amazing tips on how to work smarter during the pandemic.
Cutting back costs in 2020 might have been a priority for your business, and if you had to cut back on marketing costs and begin tackling it yourself, you’ll know how much time and effort it takes. However, you can have the best of both worlds! While a permanent in-house marketing team would be ideal, if your budget doesn’t stretch that far then you may run into issues. Outsourcing marketing allows you to let an experienced professional create and run your marketing campaigns - but only as and when you need them! Paying a freelancer say, once a month, rather than for every day of the month will save you money and prevent your marketing from falling down the drain.
Look bigger than you are
One of the downsides of being a small business is that quite often, customers would rather entrust their money with larger businesses because they think larger businesses are more trustworthy. While this isn’t necessarily the case, making your business look like a larger corporation may help you attract more customers. You can do this by:
Sell COVID-friendly products or services
Finally, we’re living in an age where anything to help survive the pandemic is something people will want. Find ways to incorporate COVID-friendly products or services into your niche. Whether it’s a branded face-mask, an app to help cure boredom, or even hacks to help stay safe, people will be interested in buying from a company they know and love. Appeal to the COVID market and you’ll notice a considerable improvement in sales!
Back in March 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, millions of people around the world began commuting to their kitchen tables and makeshift home office nooks, few believed they'd still be there now, nearly a year later. And yet, here we are.
The big question looming in many employees' and leaders' minds alike is, what does it all mean for the future of work? Some argue that the great work-from-home experiment of 2020 will lead to the end of offices forever. Others say the last year, in fact, proved we need offices for the collaboration, the creativity, and simply the excuse to get out of the house they provide. You can find the five top tips we learnt about remote working over at Inc...
This year has been very challenging for businesses across the country, in all different industries. Businesses that have been best able to adapt to these difficulties are surviving the best. As the pandemic continues, businesses have had to make many changes and learn fast in order to carry on. Some of these lessons could be utilised after the pandemic to help your business to be more efficient, productive, and successful in the future. What can businesses learn from COVID-19?
Make use of virtual tools
As offices and shops around the world have had to shut their premises, businesses have had to find new ways to stay in touch with their employees, customers, and clients, even while they can’t be in the same place.
Most businesses have made use of virtual services to help them. Whether you’re having meetings over Skype or Zoom, are working on shared documents on Google Drive, or are making use of cloud virtual services, there are some tools that could still be useful after you reopen your premises.
For example, if you’ve found that having people work from home hasn’t damaged productivity, then you could look at offering more options for remote work. With cloud documents, virtual meeting rooms, and secure VPNs, you can keep staff productive while still being flexible when they need time at home, such as to care for an unwell child.
Could you save money by forgoing parts of your office and going online? For example, if you don’t have clients or customers who come to the office, then you do need reception in the building? A virtual reception is cheaper than in-house staff and office space.
Make Digital A Priority
Businesses who already had a strong presence online have found it much easier to keep working than businesses who have struggled to get their digital offering ready for use.
All businesses should have a website. Make sure that basic information like your contact details, opening hours, and location are easy to find. The website must be functional, easy to use, and clearly express what you do and who you are as a brand..
If suitable for your business, an eCommerce platform is very useful to have. While shops have to close, being ready to sell online has allowed some businesses to stay afloat. When you can reopen, selling online adds another way to sell your products and earn a profit.
If you don’t sell online, you still need to make sure that your clients and customers can easily get in touch with you online. Some people prefer to contact companies online, rather than come to a meeting or make a phonecall. Make sure you are present and active on social media. You need someone to respond promptly to comments, questions, or complaints that come up on your social channels. A chatbot for common questions, such as delivery tracking, can be useful on your website too.
The businesses who have managed the best with COVID-19 difficulties are the ones who have been able to adapt quickly and make changes to their business. For example, restaurants who have been able to support their suppliers by operating as an online deli, or alcohol companies who avoided wastage by making hand sanitizers, have been better able to cope.
While another pandemic on this scale may be unlikely, other changes can happen in the business world at any time, suddenly changing the demand for what you offer. Businesses who are unable to react quickly enough to changes in their industry are unlikely to survive.
Your business needs to be ready to react and adapt, whether you make a big change to what you offer, or make a smaller change to the way you operate. For example, if you have had to close your doors to customers, can you offer a delivery service instead? Will there be a demand for this delivery when you can reopen?
While the global pandemic has of course made things much harder for all businesses, but there are many lessons that can be learned that could be very helpful in the future. By being ready to adapt, your business will be better able to succeed and flourish. The world of business moves quickly, and businesses that carry on as they have always done are the ones who will be left behind and who will falter. If you have found ways to work smarter during COVID-19, try to see what measures you can make use of when the world is normal again.
When lockdown started in March, workers across the UK packed up their office equipment and set up work stations in their own homes. Bedrooms, kitchen counter-tops and dining tables became the new way of working for millions of people. According to the ONS, 30% of adults in the UK were exclusively working from home at the start of July. BBC News has the info...
Business relocations can occur for a wide range of reasons. Perhaps you're upsizing to a bigger store. Maybe you're downsizing in response to COVID-19 and an increased reliance on remote working. Or it might be that you're starting a whole new life in a new city or country. Whatever the reasons, it's imperative that the transition runs. Otherwise, the business dream could turn into a nightmare.
You've probably never completed this assignment before, which is why it's easy to forget key features. Here are five that you must not ignore,
#1. You Don't Have To Replace All Items
When making a fresh beginning, there is a temptation to start over. However, it would be a little counterproductive to spend money needlessly. After all, the whole purpose of the relocation is to boost your bottom line. Even when dealing with huge items, expert machine movers can transfer equipment to new locations. The moving costs are a fraction of replacing the items. Moreover, any employees following your business to the new setting will be familiar with the products too.
It also removes fears of delayed deliveries, allowing you to maintain productivity throughout.
#2. You Can Still Leverage Success From The Old Location
In addition to carrying over physical items from the old venue, you can look to leverage online success from the previous chapter. Rather than designing a brand new website, editing existing pages is quicker, cheaper, and more effective. Service pages, blog posts, and site features are already indexed for SEO. So, adding the new geographic keywords should give you far quicker results. The fact you can make good use of your testimonials and reviews is a bonus.
#3. You Have To Create Positive Surroundings
After moving into the new business premises, you will have to accept that it can take time to achieve the perfect surroundings. However, creating a positive vibe is an immediate priority. From improving the design of your office to creating a reception area that sets the right tone, you will see a big impact. It can influence productivity and employee-client interactions. If you want the next chapter of your business journey to start on the right foot, you must not ignore this.
Furthermore, you should stamp out any source of wasted capital.
#4. You Only Have To Replace A Percentage Of The Workforce
Employees will continue to provide the backbone of your business in this new era. Once again, you don't have to forget everything that went before. Depending on the distances involved, it may be convenient for staff members to follow you to the new setting. Even if this isn't possible, many jobs from admin to customer care can be completed remotely. Managing a remote team takes some getting used to, but can transform the future of the company.
However, if this is entirely possible, you should consider hiring a few employees from the new location your business is settling in. This is an added advantage as local employees have a vast knowledge of what customers want, how stiff the competition is, how to build a positive brand image effectively, what trends are currently taking place and many others.
To ensure that you hire the right employees in a new locale, you should give an in-depth job description and advertise various openings. Secondly, interview as many potential employees as possible and ensure you select the right ones based on qualifications.
Additionally, don't forget to perform pre employment assessment to identify potential risk factors that may limit a worker from performing the job effectively. Go the extra mile and contact the candidates' references to come up with reliable decisions. Many employers tend to skimp on this part and always select the wrong workforce, which can have adverse effects on the business's operations.
#5. You Have To Be Organized
Good organizational skills are essential at all stages of the business journey. Still, the need to maintain control is even greater at this time. Aside from updating your website and arranging movers, you'll want to find printers for new business cards and letterheads. Likewise, all utilities, including issues like internet and data management should be done in advance. Otherwise, increased stress levels could lead to very serious consequences.
You've got this, but only if you put the right preparations in place. Now is the time to do it.
The value of effective marketing has always played an integral role in modern business. However, the combo of social distancing limits and the fact that consumers have less money put you under even more pressure. Still, it is possible to keep achieving great things.
Understanding the challenges and building a strategy that keeps them in mind is vital. Here are five key steps to success.
1) Gain Online Visibility In An Offline World
Making people aware of your company is the first step to success. The trend towards researching companies with local online searches starting long before Covid-19. Nonetheless, the pandemic has seen even more people use the digital channels like Google maps. Therefore, it's vital that local SEO and your Google My Business resources are used. When your company ranks at the top of the local listings, consumers will assume that your business is trustworthy and capable.
2) Remember That Content Is King
Awareness is one thing, but engagement is another. If consumers are going to check out your business ahead of visiting the store or making an online purchase, you must set the right tone. Improving your digital content will strengthen the bond, boost your brand image, and edge clients towards a sale. The fact that this is more cost-effective than many other tactics is a bonus. You can leverage more success by using affiliate marketers and social influencers to reach new audiences.
3) Make Store Exteriors Stand Out
The days of people casually walking in and out 50 stores on the high street or shopping mall are gone. If you want to attract passing traffic, you'll need the shop front to do the hard work for you. Using 3d production services for window displays is a particularly wise move. When coupled with better shop signage, your store will stand out from the crowd. Quite frankly, getting people through the door is the toughest challenge of all right now. Make the entrance more appealing, and traffic will soar.
4) Know Your Audience
Some of your marketing endeavors will always fall on deaf ears. Sadly, if you persist with the current methods of appealing to the masses, big problems can follow. Identifying your niche can direct everything from target marketing PPCs to the choice of wording on ad materials. Essentially, you need to know that your brand will be shown to the right people, in the right places, and in the right way. When all of the boxes are ticked, the effectiveness will be far greater while it'll be easier to see what works.
5) Focus On Upselling
Whatever you do in business right now, the chances are that your active customer base will fall. Therefore, it's essential that you maximize the potential earnings from each client. Investing in staff training modules that encourage sales teams to upsell bundles or extra products can work wonders. If trying to secure bigger transaction values, it may be worth adding the option of repayment plans. This does require credit checks, but the possibilities to grow your client base are incredible.
Author - chris
Author, Editor, Creator of this website.