Lockdown doesn’t have to mean the shutdown of your business’ operations. Companies across all sectors are finding innovative ways to adapt to the new environment, helping to keep morale – as well as the bottom line – up and showing how businesses can respond to Coronavirus.
Andrew Jones highlights some examples of businesses that have risen to the challenge.
Overcoming challenges is something that all businesses will have faced, but nothing could have prepared them for the seismic impact of the Coronavirus crisis.
But, in these dark and worrying times, there are many shining examples of businesses that have reacted to the crisis. They’ve modified their business practices and are not only putting up a good fight, they are winning.
Manufacturing a solution
I’ve got clients in retail, wholesale, manufacturing, and service industries, and they’ve all been affected in different ways. Let’s start with manufacturing.
A lot of businesses in the sector are facing the challenge of how they can continue operating. If you run a factory operating machines, your staff can’t work from home. They can be furloughed, but some manufacturers have actually seen, if not an upturn in business (which some have), then not much drop off. So, they have faced the question of how they can continue manufacturing while following the government guidelines about social distancing.
They’ve had to think laterally and have come up with some clever ideas. One of my engineering clients decided to split the workforce in half. So, while in normal times, there would be 30 people on the shop floor, the team has been split and they now work two shifts with 15 starting and finishing earlier and 15 taking over and starting and finishing later.
The reduced workforce means people can work on alternated machines at least two metres apart. It’s a really good example of how, with a bit of adjustment, companies like them can carry on without breaking the rules and putting people’s lives at risk.
I’ve got another client in the wholesale sector who supplies masks and other equipment, not just to the NHS, but to other key workers like utility companies and broadband suppliers. So, as you can imagine, they are very busy.
Again, they’ve found a way to continue mass operations and remain safe by only allowing a certain number of employees in each of the aisles.
The sheer generosity of the human spirit is also outstanding. One of my other clients has teamed up with another business and they are using their vehicles to help deliver critical equipment to hospitals.
Hospitality at home
Having touched on sectors where companies are continuing to get business and, in some cases, more business, than before the Coronavirus. There are, of course, sectors where it has left many struggling.
We look after a number of bars and restaurants, and of course, they’ve all had to shut. But even in the hospitality sector businesses can respond to Coronavirus and owner managers are finding a different way to operate. They may have furloughed staff and without customers coming to the premises a lot must be worried for the future. There’s often, if not always, a way.
My favourite Chinese restaurant is shut but has been given the go ahead to do deliveries, and this is what a lot of the cafes, restaurants, bars and local shops have started to do. I enjoyed exactly the same meal I would have had in the restaurant, at home – along with the bottle of wine!
Bringing out the best
Challenging times often bring out the best in people. The sheer amount of creative thinking I’ve seen my clients do to keep their business, and therefore the economy as a whole, still going, even at the peak of this crisis, is incredible.
It is a struggle, and it will take a long time for any of us to feel as though it is anything resembling business as usual, but we really are all in it together.