In the last week or so, the world has seemingly shrunk as a fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic that is ravaging every aspect of our lives right now. Those saddled with managing technology planning to deal with the pandemic should realize that technology is never first. People are.
In North America, particularly the U.S. and Canada, people practically went from their typical day-to-day lives to a dignified quarantine called “shelter in place”, all seemingly overnight. Organizations and businesses have had to transform ‘normal’ business processes and office spaces to virtual workplaces.
More critical is that fact that many small organizations have had to make incredibly difficult decisions to send their paltry staff home with no infrastructure in place to support the suddenly mandatory work from home guidelines.
As a matter of fact, to say that many are struggling to extend existing remote work capabilities to a larger set of employees, or trying to kick off remote work programs from scratch within a short window would be an understatement.
Organizations of all sizes and types are filled with panic, anxiety, and fear while they are trying to figure out how to maintain operations while continuing to serve communities who share their worries, while keeping the dangers of COVID-19 front and center.
As to be expected, in the wake of all this madness, technology companies of all sorts have suddenly found their charitable sides and are offering all kinds of resources, promotions and special programs for businesses and organizations who are trying to find ways that staff can shift to working from home and providing services digitally.
While that is all well and good, we agree with Amy Sample Ward, the CEO of The Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network (NTEN), that technology alone is not going to save us. As Amy argues, “[T]he truth is, technology isn’t going to save our organizations, our budgets, our events, our programs, or our communities. So what’s first? People. Always, first and foremost, people.”
While it is true that things are scary at the moment, it is important to keep your people together and work together as a team, even if it is over the phone, chats or messaging applications like Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp, plain old SMS, or through video conferencing tools like Zoom, AnyMeeting by Intermedia, Webex, Google Hangout etc.
It is essential that leaders of businesses and organizations be on the same page with their staff when it comes to making hard decisions like cutting back on employee hours, critical programs, or even making changes to already laid out business plans and processes.
As a result of the unprecedented life changes we are having to deal with in such a short amount of time, so many people today are frozen in fear. Many do not know what they can or cannot do. COVID-19 has indeed created some element of numbness leaving people fearful and questioning everything.
Today, accomplished and determined business owners in our world are facing a unique brand of fears due to COVID-19 and are asking questions like:
- Will I lose sales and revenue due to the coronavirus (another name for COVID-19)?
- What if I have to lay people off?
- How can I keep my team and keep them working hard?
- How will I continue to provide for my family?
- How long will this last?
So, how do you stop your people from being being frozen in fear and encourage them to move forward with business, family and living their lives?
Amy Ward had some recommendations like centering your staff and managing processes like:
- Ways of working
- Ways of engaging your community
- Ways of asking for help that are doable with your capacity, and the completely new settings you’re in?
- Where can you eliminate processes that aren’t serving you now?
In additions to these recommendation, here are some additional steps you can start taking now to help you, your organization, employees, volunteers, customers and partners deal with current corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Five steps you can start taking now to deal with COVID-19
You should make an effort to constantly communicate with all of your stakeholders. From your employees to your customers to your partners and vendors, stay in communication with them to share how your business is doing and how you can continue to serve them.
While in-person visits may not be ideal at this time, you can always resort to the good ol’ phone, e-mail, videos or webinars. You can bet that if your customers aren’t hearing from you, they are hearing from your competitors.
Be a Valuable Resource on COVID-19
While money is always important, now is the time to be a trusted resource and friend to your clients and prospects. People today need bold solutions. If you’re actively bringing solutions to your clients, you become a valuable resource. If they’re simply writing a check and never hearing from you – especially in today’s environment – you’ll be first on the chopping block when they have to cut expenses.
Lean on People
It’s ironic that the one time we need people more than ever before, we are supposed to socially distance ourselves and stay in our homes. Through video conferencing and web conferencing, work together with your team, your partners and your Accountability Groups to lean on one another. Because nobody has gone through anything like this before, nobody has all the answers. But as a collective group, you will find most every answer you need.
Be MORE Than a Businessperson
They may be your employees, your colleagues and your clients. But they are PEOPLE first. And just about everyone you interact with in your business world has endless stresses when the workday is done. Their kids are home from school all day getting into who knows what. They’re worried about going to the supermarket and if there will be meat and toilet paper. They’re concerned about keeping themselves and their family healthy.
When your clients and prospects start to see you not just as an IT services provider, but as a friend and someone who truly cares, that’s when they want to do business with you for life.
Be Informed But Not Obsessed About COVID-19
People were glued to their TVs for weeks after 9/11. As a result, although they were informed, they were also more stressed, depressed and fearful. Don’t do that to yourself. Yes, it’s prudent to know how to “flatten the curve” and protect your family, but watching too much news or social media right now can dominate your thinking and actions. That can negatively impact your business.
During this otherworldly pandemic, it’s good to have a little fear. To keep us safe. To keep us making good decisions. However, if you want to ensure your business is stable and growing, to help your family cope and get through this, you should take these steps to rise above the fear.
Here are some resources to assist you on your way to recovery. Stay safe and healthy folks.
If you need immediate IT support or if you need help in setting your business up so your employees can work remotely from home, contact us today.