Is Your business COVID Ready? 

In the current world climate, COVID continues to be big news. Every news broadcast, website and conversation is dominated by pandemic chat. We are discovering now that there is no such thing (as yet) as being post pandemic. Omicron is the current strain, but will most definitely not be the last, so learning to live and work within the constrains of the pandemic has to be our focus.

Your social media feed is full of people you know with COVID, and advice about getting your home and family COVID ready for the inevitable.  

We’re told to formulate an iso plan, stock up on medicines, and fill the freezer with heat and eat meals. Unfortunately when I was struck down by the dreaded Rona recently, I had done none of this. Cue disaster! 

The only easy part for me was letting my employer know I was unwell. At Impactiv8, more than half our team have so far had COVID. We therefore have a strategy in place to manage our client work and we all jump in to help. 

But we’re an agency, so we have that luxury. If you’re a small business or running things solo, you need a strategy to deal with the very real possibility of you or a key staff member going down.

Imagine if you suddenly were unable to work for a week (or more, if you’re unlucky). For me, I only needed a week off before I was back to normal duties, but some people experience long periods of brain fog, dizziness and general tiredness for quite some time afterwards. Can you afford to step away from the day to day of your business with an unknown return date?

Just like you need a COVID plan for your family and home life, you must have a plan in place for your business.

Here are 8 steps to help to create this plan.

 1. Devise a COVID business plan 

Remember the old saying “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail?” This has never been more true when it comes to the effects of COVID illness on your business. I’m not talking about a COVID Safe Plan here. That of course is important to prevent the dreaded lurgy from taking hold of your team. 

But probably even more important is a plan that details how the business will continue to run in your absence or that of one or more of your staff members. Make sure this plan is shared with and accessible by all key stakeholders in advance, and factor in that you might be physically incapable of issuing directions or managing human resources shortages suddenly without notice. 

2. Have a Plan B 

The annoying thing about COVID is that it’s REALLY contagious. There’s a high likelihood that if the positive person attended the workplace prior to knowing they were positive, there will be a knock on effect to other employees. Your COVID plan needs plan b options in place, that take into account the possibility of several or all employees being unavailable or ill.

You might think you’ll be fine to work from your bed with a laptop on your knees, but take it from someone who has experienced COVID. I was double vaxxed and for at least 5 days could barely move my head. The thought of looking at a laptop screen made me dizzy, and I would not have been capable of making decisions or outputting anything of quality during this time. And I’m the kind of person who had my laptop out within hours of giving birth and prided myself on ‘pushing through’ when unwell. 

3. Get your SOPs in order

When was the last time you checked that your Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were up to date? Or worse still, you don’t have them in place for key tasks and responsibilities. Start with a list of all the vital things that must be done to keep the business running and make sure these tasks are reflected in the SOPs.

These SOPs must be accurate and current, and written in a way that somebody could step in with little knowledge of the task and be able to complete it. Better still, use a tools like Searchie to record videos of those tasks and processes that are computer based. The great thing about a tool like Searchie is that you can search through videos based on keywords or phrases that might be spoken during a video, so it makes it really easy for your team members to find the right video, without requiring prior knowledge of your filing or labelling system.

Obviously this varies highly depending on your industry, but do the best you can to suit your business.

4. Get your digital marketing in order 

This pandemic has already hit businesses hard for the past two years (and counting), making it super important that any future COVID shaped road bumps don’t end up doing even more damage to your bottom line.  

That’s why now (when you and your team are well – fingers crossed that’s actually the case) is probably one of the best time for you to get your digital marketing organised and planned out in advance. You don’t want your sales to take a dive, just because you or whoever is responsible for your digital marketing on your team can’t lift their head off the pillow. 

To give yourself enough of a buffer, make sure that your digital marketing content plan outlines what content you plan to create and schedule at least a month in advance. If you can then try to schedule your content at least 2 weeks in advance, hopefully that will give you enough of a cushion to see you through. 

It’s also a good idea to batch up some evergreen content to share on your socials that just sits in reserve, with clear SOPs on how to activate that content should additional content be required or if you didn’t have a long enough buffer in place. 

If you need help with this, check out our Your Content Creation Strategy blog post.  

5. Consider having a VA on standby

A virtual assistant or agency temp might be required to get you through the acute periods of staff illness. Ensure you have the ability to call on temp staff with ease, have contact details and workplace access requirements at the ready.

6. Stash some cash 

Do you know how much sick and holiday leave your team is currently entitled to? 

Imagine if they all got sick at once…

Would you have enough cash reserves to pay out their full entitlements to see them through this period? And when answering this question, make sure you also consider that those team members won’t be earning any revenue for the business during that time either. 

If the answer is no, then you need to start working on building up some cash reserves for this possible outcome. 

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you also need to stash some cash in case your customers, clients or key suppliers are sent into sudden isolation, impacting their ability to either buy from you or supply essential goods or services for you to be able to operate effectively.

Both of these scenarios can result in the need for increased expenses. You might need to spend more on advertising to attract new customers or pay a premium to get a new supplier to plug a gap – quickly!

Cash flow is critical for a business at the best of times, but even more so now.  

7. Prioritise the urgent work

It may seem like all of it is urgent, but there is usually a hierarchy and the workload can be prioritised with some degree of attention. Make a list of everything that MUST be done, organise either other staff or temp staff to take care of it, and ask for mercy for the rest (see point 8). 

8. Be honest with your clients 

During times like COVID, clients and customers tend to be more understanding. If you need to ask for extra time to complete a project or mercy from a customer who feels let down, explain the situation. Don’t shy away from the truth, it’s a bit of a cliche but we really are all in this together and these issues have arisen due to a global pandemic, not through any fault of our own.

What else can you do?

If you’ve been through this yourself and have any additional advice you’d like to share that will help other businesses, let us know in the comments below. 

And if you are going through this now, please accept this big virtual hug from all of the Impactiv8 team. 🤗

Rest up and get well soon. You’ve survived the past couple of years and you will survive this too. Give yourself permission to do whatever your body requires. Sleep, drink plenty of water, eat what you can to keep your strength up, and rest assured that your business will bounce back.