To lockdown or not to lockdown, that is the question

In some areas of the country, some businesses are wondering if they are going to be put back into lockdown.

We could all drive ourselves crazy attempting to work out what is going to happen next in 2020. What we should do is take a long hard look at our long-term aims and objectives. Having a period of uncertainty can mean having the time to look at processes, at strategies, assess which clients are profitable and which should be dropped as they are loss making. What a period of uncertainty should not do is to forget about the longer term and become all about tomorrow.

Yes, there may be cashflow issues, but talk to suppliers, landlords, your bank and so on – answers may just be there waiting for you to approach them. Alternatively, if cash is not an issue for you, can you extend payment terms for clients to help them get through this? They would remember that and become more loyal.

Yes, it may be difficult to keep morale and motivation up when the news is so bleak day after day – more cases, more deaths, more restrictions – so reward your staff.

It doesn’t need to be expensive, but just something that makes them feel valued and cared about. I’ve seen companies send out hot chocolate / coffee / tea (depending on the staff member), biscuits and a mug to remote workers for a “coffee morning” via Zoom for water cooler chat not a meeting, a sense of community, removing loneliness and feeling better. If your staff are happy they perform better and that impacts your bottom line.

If cashflow won’t stretch to the bundle then just have the Zoom chat. If staff are in the office, then have a director go round, collect drink orders and go and make them. (Back in 2008 / 9 I saw one MD wearing rabbit ears hop around the office taking orders, but not hopping when the tray was full of course, – it made everyone laugh, didn’t cost anything, but emphasised that the whole company was in it together, and everyone from the receptionist, through customer services, IT, HR, finance, sales and marketing all felt valued and cared for).

There is probably going to be a tough few months ahead to build on the past few months, but if you remember to smile then staff and customers will hear that in your voice and their fear may reduce and that may just lead to a healthier bottom line.