Take Care Of Your Employees To Take Care Of Your Business

Last updated on: Published by: jasmine 4

The pandemic has certainly changed the face of business – companies shut down, putting people out of work on a temporary or permanent basis, while others arranged for employees to work from home. People have been struggling financially as they sit at home with a lot of free time but no income. Essential workers, who also happen to include most of the lowest paid professions – retail and food service – had to make a choice of keeping their job but risking getting a deadly illness and bringing it home, or giving up their job to protect their health.

Now, after months of lockdown measures, businesses around the world are starting to reopen, trying to figure out how to navigate the new world and recoup their customers when things are so up in the air. Small businesses, in particular, have a tough road ahead of them, since they generally don’t have the financial cushion a conglomerate like Amazon has. In light of that, what I’m about to say may sound insane.

The absolute best thing you can do for your business is go out of your way to take care of your employees.

And yes, this means spending money. For the past several years, there’s been a social movement to support small businesses over faceless corporations, and that movement has had a resurgence with this pandemic – one of the reasons is employees are generally more respected for small businesses. If the general public gets word that your employees love working for you, they will be more inclined to give you their money. If your employees feel respected and appreciated, they will work harder for you.

Take Care Of Your Employees To Take Care Of Your Business

Right now, take a moment to evaluate what you are and can do for employees. Are they paid fairly, a wage they can live on, even if that’s higher than your local minimum wage? Do you offer health insurance that is affordable and comprehensive? Do employees have paid sick leave?

Paid vacation is another area to look at. Definitely offer a certain amount of paid time off, and encourage people to take it. Business culture in the United States right now encourages employees to either not take their vacation or to feel guilty about taking it, neither of which is good for their mental or physical wellbeing. Instead of allowing your employees to “buy out” their vacation at the end of the year, encourage them to take the time – it will pay off for you in the long run.

Once the basics are addressed, consider added benefits. Maybe you can arrange a tuition reimbursement program for employees studying topics that will help them in their work. Bring lunch in once a week or plan a monthly coworker night out at a local pub – trivia night provides a great bonding experience! Address birthdays or other major life events.

Consider any uniform policy you have. If employees are required to wear certain items while working, the company should provide those items free of charge to ease the financial burden on the employees.

Embrace Employee Appreciation months! Create a clear-cut and quantitative policy to evaluate performances and provide a prize for the highest ranking employee each month. Something like a gift certificate for a massage or an extra day off can go a long way towards an employee feeling appreciated. And to keep things fair, provide additional, optional training for employees in case they want to improve so they can win the following month.

Also, make sure your employees feel comfortable coming to you with issues and suggestions. An environment that feels safe and open is sure to build employee loyalty. Be prepared to work with employees through hardships, because even though work is meant to be a professional environment, it is such a massive part of life, work intersects with their personal life – a schedule change to accommodate childcare is a minor inconvenience to you, but solves a huge hardship for them.

While you prepare to reopen, take into account everything you can do to help your employees – the expense will definitely be worth the reward!

Business In A Post-Coronavirus World

Last updated on: Published by: jasmine 11

Italy is starting to lift lockdown restrictions, China is almost entirely free of COVID-19, most of the United States is looking to resume some business. We are starting to see opportunities to resume life as social distancing has an effect and lowers the spread of the first real pandemic the modern world has had. But what can we expect post-coronavirus?

Business In A Post-Coronavirus World

Well, to start, I don’t think we should be expecting anything post-corona anytime soon. Instead, I think the next year, until a vaccine is developed and put into play, and even the next few years while we see how the virus mutates, we’ll be living in a co-corona world. I think we’re going to see face masks become fashion, shaking hands get traded for more distant greetings, and other measures that incorporate health safety measures into everyday life.

What does this mean for the business world? There’s going to be a lot of changes. Now, until things actually happen, no one can really tell how this will pan out, but here’s what I predict.

An increase in digital nomadism

One of the biggest changes is going to be a huge jump in the number of people working from home. A lot of businesses opted to have employees work from home rather than shut down completely. It’s a smart choice, but it also goes to prove that all those times people were told “we need you in the office, your job can’t be done from home” were lies.

Additionally, companies are going to debate the value of paying for a giant office building, as well as the utilities and supplies that go along with that, when employees could simply work from home. Studies have already shown, that in general, people tend to be more productive when working from home, and the schedule flexibility is going to make it harder to draw a strict line between work hours and personal time, which benefits the company.

It’s not all bad. Working from home means employees will have more flexibility and independence – if you need to schedule a doctor’s appointment, you can do so without feeling guilty or obvious about showing up late to the office. It means parents don’t have to miss work to stay home with sick children. It means people who are already living paycheck to paycheck don’t have to worry about missing work because they themselves are sick – they can work from bed, in between naps, and at most, their productivity will drop for a few days. Most employees will welcome the opportunity.

Working from home also creates the opportunity to not have to be at home. You can work from your couch…or you could work from a beach in Bali – which would you choose? All the people who dream of traveling but don’t have the time because of work or the money without work – this is the opportunity. Digital nomadism is already a growing trend, so the idea is in everyone’s heads – we’re going to see a huge increase in the numbers, starting around the end of 2020 to mid 2021, in my estimation – allowing for companies to form policies, and the fear of travel to dissipate.

Better conditions for employees

We’ve all heard of the employee strikes various companies have had to deal with. For years, retail and food industry workers have been told they don’t deserve a living wage, and that their work isn’t particularly important, and now they are on the frontlines, they are considered essential workers! And it’s absolutely true, because the grocery stores need to be restocked, warehouses need someone to pack boxes and load the trucks, and someone had to cook your take-away order.

Additionally, there’s likely to be a period where people are sensitive to their health, questioning every cough or fever as they wonder if the pandemic has returned for round two. In response, people are going to demand better treatment from employers. They’re going to seek out positions where they make enough money to build savings in case of another lockdown, they’re going to seek jobs that don’t force them to come in or punish them for calling out when they’re sick.

We’ve already seen a shift with the millennial generation and Gen Z, as far as their preference to work for socially responsible companies, and I expect that’s going to escalate – particularly since the pandemic’s large effect on the boomer generation has, unfortunately, opened up some jobs.

If you already run a company, re-evaluate how you treat your employees. Are you making sure they feel valued? Are they paid well, and compensated in other ways? If not, you need to make some adjustments to retain your top talent before they leave for greener pastures – I promise it will be worth it.

New Business Opportunities

During the virus, we’ve seen people do their grocery shopping online for the first time. We’ve seen Zoom and other online video conferencing services become more popular. Video streaming is at an all-time high. Countries that never jumped on board the technological train have begun to embrace the convenience.

On top of that, big companies were caught off guard. Hotels almost universally shut down. Cruise companies and airlines are in trouble. Amazon got overwhelmed with orders and then employees went on strike – and the same happened at Instacart, Ubereats, and a number of other food delivery services.

Right now, the time is ripe to start a business and cut into established markets or get in at the ground floor of a burgeoning industry. Businesses offering convenience are going to become the gold standard, so starting your own delivery service right now would be smart – if you treat your employees well, so that they don’t strike.

Delivery services can also offer to deliver not just restaurant food, but also bottles from the liquor store, items from the gas station, and even pick up pet food from the veterinarian’s office or prescriptions from the pharmacy. That kind of all-encompassing personal concierge service will go a long way towards making people’s lives significantly easier, which will earn their loyalty and is a solid business model that could survive another pandemic

If you’re tech-savvy, now is the time to launch that app or website you’ve been dreaming of, particularly if it aids communication. Even as the threat of coronavirus passes, people who have only recently discovered the ease of online chatting will continue to do so – and the quality of Zoom has greatly upped expectations from laggy and fuzzy Skype.

One area I’m excited to see is real estate. As I said above, I predict a massive increase in digital nomadism, which means that all of those nomads will want a place to stay. Landlords with rental properties in interesting (not touristy, necessarily) areas are likely to see an uptick in interest, particularly for longer periods of time – digital nomads commonly rent for a few months rather than a few weeks. Added onto that, anyone who can bring conveniences of home to those areas is likely to build a profitable business.

You’ll notice most of the business opportunities predicted are virtual. There are options for brick-and-mortar companies, because people will always want to gather, to go out and have fun, to shop and touch things in person. The caveat post-corona, however, will be two-fold. One, overcrowding in a venue is a risk factor for another pandemic occurring, so people will be less inclined to attend. Restaurants and bars should consider making their spaces open and reducing the number of guests at a time, as well as offering extended take-away and delivery options. Two, as far as special events, I think we’ll see some prices drop. When people get a peek at Jennifer Hudson singing at home – for free – they are going to be less inclined to shell out five hundred dollars for seats yards away from the stage where you can’t even make out facial expressions – particularly since you’ll be crowded with other people! Smaller venues and lawn concerts may be more popular, instead, as they feel more intimate and generally cost less.

More crossover in business

Right now, we’ve already seen top restaurant chefs around the world, with the dining rooms closed temporarily, take to IGTV, Youtube, or Facebook Live with cooking classes. This is an area that can and should be expanded on – continue the virtual cooking classes and sell (even ship!) recipe kits a la Blue Apron to pair with the videos. People will love feeling like they are eating Emeril’s gumbo, with ingredients from the same suppliers his restaurants use.

This trend is gong to continue building in other businesses, where their offered services go beyond the traditional and expected. It’s an excellent way for all the owners who nearly lost their business in this go-round to have a fighting chance to survive if another pandemic sweeps the planet.

Have you checked your business for ways to adapt to life post-coronavirus? Or are you planning on becoming an entrepreneur now to take advantage of the new opportunities that are arising?