The Irish lockdown is moving swiftly towards its second month and, with no clear indication on when things might return to ‘normal’, businesses are settling into remote working for the long haul. No company was prepared for Covid-19, and many have already suffered major losses as a result of it. But its not too late to make sure your business, whether it’s a start up, SMB or enterprise, is protected against the repercussions of the Covid-19 crisis.
Forbes explains that “to protect your business and employees in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, you need to be willing to take some precautionary measures… and of course do a lot of hand washing in the process”. Not sure if you’ve taken the steps to fully proof your business against disasters like Covid-19? We’ve outlined four activities that, all together, should enable your business to remain stable during the Covid-19 crisis and thrive once the dust settles.
Securing your business from cyberthreats is arguably the most important step that a business can take right now. The Covid-19 crisis has disrupted operations for businesses of all shapes and sizes, leaving many vulnerable to increasing coronavirus-related cyberattacks. Businesses should focus on creating and implementing a security strategy which includes educating employees on the risks and implementing layered security solutions.
Given the current business landscape, emergency planning to ride the current storm is the top priority; “an emergency plan not only outlines what steps your company plans on taking if an outbreak impacts your businesses. It also lays out what measures you’re taking to protect your employees and business before disaster strikes” (Forbes). A disaster plan will not only protect your business during this disaster but will make it stronger if another occurs in the future, increasing the stability of your company long-term. The plan should include a work from home policy for right now as well as the future; this will appease your employees and show them that as a company you are versatile and reactive to unstable situations.
Keeping your employees posted on coronavirus-related news and how it is affecting your business is vital. Employees are facing a lot of uncertainty at the moment, with some on furlough leave and others struggling to be a full-time employee and a full-time parent at the same time. Giving them a steady feed of honest and pragmatic information will help to reduce any workplace panic and improve their trust and respect in the company. Using a platform like Microsoft Teams allows you to communicate using a variety of methods; host a virtual Q&A for employees, share updates through channels and create groups in chat to share everyday news. Yammer, Microsoft’s business social networking service, also gives you the ability to share updates, advice and more social content to the whole business regularly.
“Every crisis offers opportunities” (Entrepreneur.com) and the Covid-19 situation is no different. Whether your company is thriving or struggling right now, it’s absolutely the time to make investments for the future.
Investment doesn’t need to be financial; investing time in nurturing your existing customers is one of the most powerful decisions you can currently make. Support them more than ever before, and they will return the loyalty down the line. Use this time to help prospective customers as well; educate them, reassure them and ask for nothing back. Everyone remembers who helped them when the chips were down.
Now is also the time to make internal investments. Commit to enabling flexible working long-term, with an official policy and the right equipment and security. It is also the time to give back to your employees, who are likely working harder than ever during this situation. Investing time, effort and money in these key places with not only stabilise your business but see it prosper in the wake of the Covid-19 storm.