Small business owners are encouraged to practice social distancing and allow employees to work from home to reduce the threat and spread of COVID-19. Some have been ordered to close their doors.
Here are some tips we’ve compiled to ease the transition and reduce the impact.
Communicate with Employees
Communication is key as team members are scattered and working from their homes.
Ensure everyone understands their assignments and roles during this transition and that a key point of contact has been created for each area of your business. Team members should know who to reach out to for subjects such as vendors, clients, human resources and IT.
Keep employees motivated
Many employees are not used to working from home, or may struggle with staying on task during these trying times. Here is a resource you can share with employees to help ease the adjustment.
Keep in Touch with Suppliers and Vendors
Task someone with checking on the status of all vendors and what new processes or mandates they may have put in place. Create documents to track delay or cancelled deliveries or shipments. Determine a point person for vendor contacts and a process for informing leadership and staff of any interruptions or changes in services.
Talk to Your Bankers
Many banks already offer remote ways of handling banking needs. Determine whether scheduled transactions will go through and if you have enough funds to pay employees and pay for supplies. Contact your bank regarding your options. Make sure you have enough liquidity to withstand a 7-14 day shutdown or longer if quarantine requires. The Small Business Association of America has created a resource page that includes loan program information and other essential information.
It’s also advisable to talk to your insurance company to see if interruption/temporary shutdown is covered in your policy.
Determine if all staff has access to whatever technology they need to successfully complete their tasks from home. If they do not, create a process for delivering them what they need. If they are using a personal laptop, ensure you communicate any company policies regarding this. For example, many companies limit storing company files on personal devices.
Ensure all employees have access to any systems they need. Creating a point person and a tracking document for this can streamline the process and ensure you keep track of who has access to what.
Having a secure drive or storage program will be key if your team has to share files. This will encourage collaboration, while keeping company information secure. Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive are examples of sharing platforms.