Maybe we are not over the worst of it, and maybe the actual process of un-locking lockdown has yet to be agreed, but the conversation is now clearly moving in that direction. If we squint our eyes and look long and hard, is that light we can see at the end of the tunnel?
There remain so many unknowns just now that it can feel like an excuse to sit back and wait for the final instructions. However, I can’t see that there will ever be any ‘final instructions’. This virus, or something similar to this virus, will undoubtably be in the corner of our eye for the foreseeable future. We will all have to find a way of working and living with it. I’m no health expert or specialist in anthropology, so there is little point in me attempting to predict what may or may not happen. However, what we can all do is start to get our ship in order for when the orders are given to ‘return’.
There are two sides to this as I see it. What do we do for our team, and what do we do for our customers.
As regards to the team, many will either have been furloughed or are working from home. Now, it’s possible this has been the most comprehensive study ever regarding the practicalities of working from home, and I’m sure many of you will have formed your views with respect to this. I hear both sides of the story. Some who simply can’t wait to get back into the office/on site with their mates and enjoy the buzz and banter that comes from working closely with others. And others, who think that working from home is the best thing since sliced bread. Yet, since the the times of pre-history we have all been wired with the need to socialise and whilst we can all cope with periods of isolation, extended isolation may rub against our DNA. This is not necessarily a case ‘for’ the office as, to be frank, many of us are miserable gits and find people, on the whole, hugely annoying. However, the work place is a different matter, and it ends up somewhere on the spectrum between friends and family. Additionally, for those businesses where a positive culture is important, it will be nigh on impossible to build on, in a working-from-home style workplace. As, of course, will be training. Yet, I’m sure hybrids will exist.
From where I sit, I can’t see that (for most of us) the office is optional. To me it remains ‘the family home’ and if you want to make it work well, maybe you need to start thinking about that now? That doesn’t mean that you can suggest to your team they need only be ‘properly dressed’ from the waist up, and turn up in a smart shirt, PJ bottoms and slippers. But you may want to think about how you can adopt some of the benefit of home working (less interruptions, endless food, music etc) when everyone returns.
No doubt, there will be plenty of guidelines as regards to working practices, including ‘social distancing’, and complying with these will bring their own challenges. Thinking about it now, perhaps writing policies and procedures, even though they may be only 80% correct, would be time well spent.
Customers and clients
Once again, a large part of what we do will be driven by guidelines, but it would do no harm to let your clients know where you stand on the whole COVID19 situation and therefore, begin to manage their expectations. For example, in a chiropractic clinic, letting your clients know that minimising the risk of transmitting the virus is fundamentally important and that you will be taking a number of steps to ensure you go above and beyond Government guidelines, whatever they turn out to be, would be a good idea. All businesses involved with the health sector will have an understandably high duty of care and it would be worth starting that story now.
With the exception of on-line businesses, all of us will (potentially) physically interact with the public in one way or another and I believe it will become common practice to publish on our websites our policy towards COVID19 (and similar) in the same way we did with GDPR (that seemed an inordinate waste of time then, it looks even more out of place now).
I’m suggesting that we get in early how we will deal with the guidelines that are no doubt coming our way in order to reassure our clients and minimise any push-back to doing business with us.
As always, let me have your questions. My contact details are
-Landline – 01326 660022
-Mobile/WhatsApp/Text – 07779799995 – Mike Hutchinson
-Zoom ID – 205 677 7765 – Mike Hutchinson