Our current worldwide situation is less than ideal for businesses, mostly in the traditional category. For our purposes, “traditional” means a physical store that relies on customers to look into your shop and purchase your wares. The various imposition of lockdowns in cities plus the mandated quarantine rules wreaks havoc on business operations.
The global pandemic has many people transitioning from their normal working situation to working from home. Many work-at-home moms will find that this new normal is the perfect fit for their lifestyle. But there are still challenges.
Being a leader at the best of times is challenging enough, and it only gets harder as you transition to working from home. Managing everything from keeping your supply chains working to the nitty-gritty of workforce management is something else during a time like this. The COVID-19 epidemic threw every curveball to corporations worldwide and has introduced new sets of challenges. In this article, we will take about these different challenges and, at the same time, take a closer look at how to solve them.
Change the Rules of Your Business
The term “new normal” became common in the pandemic’s early days when people thought it would not last as long as it has. By now, many people in business have realized no going back to the usual way of doing business. Brick-and-mortar businesses were slowly transitioning to digital even before the outbreak, but the pandemic has the effect of fast-forwarding those changes a hundredfold.
This can be great for moms who want to work from home, but it does bring us to the first management hurdle that businesses have to face during this pandemic.
Health and Safety? A Reason to Go eCommerce
While there are always health and safety regulations governing businesses even before the pandemic, the new situation is several notches above the usual. Now management has to contend with strict temperature monitoring, ensuring social distancing, and providing disinfectants before a customer can enter an establishment. This may not affect those stores offering products in demand, such as phones or designer shoes, but regular businesses will simply not survive this at all.
One solution could be to move the business entirely into the virtual marketplace, and for most companies, it proves as a lifesaver. Health and safety are still very much in the equation, but you can remove the physical factor affecting your business with digitization as the owner. Businesses can now operate behind closed doors, maintaining only safety protocols for their employees. Perhaps in this current pandemic, going virtual is one of the significant ways to tackle health and safety issues while saving on expenses.
Digital Marketing is Essential
While a traditional store focuses more on showcasing products and the customer experience as they walk into the store, management now has to develop ways to replicate that in the virtual world. The focus would be on making the potential buyers stay on your web page long enough to make that buying decision.
Once you go online, users will have access to all your physical eCommerce products, as well as intangible services. Content creation, social media management, and digital marketing are just a few of the necessary skills for businesses in this new digital marketplace. The challenge would be how to make your business stand out in the virtual business place because the competition is brutal.
From virtual businesses to larger corporations, digital marketing expertise is necessary to survive and eventually surpass the competition. There are proven ways of driving traffic from the web to your place of business, and all you have to do is tap them.
Keep Cash Reserves
The business world relies heavily on cash to pay for their physical maintenance as well as staff for physical locations. These costs pile up, especially during lockdowns, and make it difficult to keep open physical stores or offices. The demands for cash do not stop with supplies; even in digital form, expenses can quickly drain finances.
We recommend keeping a strict eye on your expenses, especially as you transition to home. Additionally, you may be eligible for small business loans or other funds, waivers, or extensions. Controlling a steady flow of workable income is always a challenge.
Working remotely from the actual office location is not a new concept. Still, in the pandemic, it captured the spotlight and was fast-tracked by many corporations into overdrive. Remote working solved the many problems posed by going to the office physically. Technology plays a massive part in making this possible, as advances in communication and computing technology made it more accessible.
It is a good fortune that most businesses already have some type of remote work arrangement with most of their staff in place even before the pandemic occurred. As a manager, one can simply expand these working arrangements, especially for staff who can virtually do their jobs. Cloud integration systems are also heavily utilized, making it easier to access files typically just stored in physical servers.
A Lack of Physical Interaction
Face-to-face communication often imparts nuances that are impossible to detect during conference calls, text, emails, and even one-on-one audio calls. These nuances are often the very thing that makes or breaks trust in an office environment. Without this additional input, it can be hard to communicate and build confidence.
As the leader, one can put forward changes in the office culture itself as needed. An example is a deviation from the traditional ‘top-down’ hierarchy of regular corporations. If you are the manager, reach out to your employees through video calls to add that extra dimension of depth and access communication nuances. You can read between what is being said and correlate it to the participants’ actual facial expressions. By far, video conferencing has been the most effective long-distance communication tool even outside of the business.
The Work-Life Balance
When you no longer have that physical distinction of going to and from work, one may lose the sense of balance between the workplace and home. This can lead to losing focus and succumbing to distractions. Not everyone is used to working alone with almost no supervision, which is what working remotely and independently is all about. The lack of face-to-face communication can cause relaxation at critical times of the working day.
As this routine of working remotely or from home progress, new monitoring standards also came about. Tools that can monitor employee activity embedded in their systems can keep track of what employees are doing while on the clock. These monitoring systems surveil workers and ensure they are doing work-related tasks. However, all the world’s tools will not bring out the best in your employees if they feel left out. Constant communication will still trump over any monitoring software if you want your employees to be as productive as possible.
Whether we like it or not, the pandemic has caused many people to shift their work to a home environment, and the only viable choice is to adapt. Fortunately, for many moms, this is exactly what is best for them and their children. Opportunities are ripe in situations like this, and it is up to us to reach out and grab them.