The past year or two have been a rollercoaster. Despite the negative impact that COVID-19 has caused across the world, it has also taught businesses many important lessons. Therefore, to ensure that you have disaster recovery planning in place for after the pandemic, and any other emergencies that may happen in the future, here are five lessons that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught SMEs.
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1. Importance of Working From Home
When the pandemic first started, many of us were thrown into remote working without warning. However, due to this, it became clear that remote practices needed to be fine-tuned in order to be effective. Now that these processes have been refined, we can continue to take advantage of the benefits of remote working well into the future.
2. Go Digital
Another thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us is that it is important for SMEs to be able to adapt. One of the best facilitators of adapting is digitization. By going digital, can help you to be flexible in your work, adapt to crises, and even automate some of your processes.
As an SME, you may feel that digitization is an unnecessary cost, especially as a small, independent company. However, the loss of revenue for pandemic shutdowns greatly outweighs the cost of going digital.
3. Emphasise Employee Wellness
According to the government, mental health problems increased from 20.8% to 29.5% between 2019 and April 2020, followed by a few months of recovery. There was also a second dip in mental health and wellbeing between October 2020 and February 2021, followed by a similarly proportionate recovery period. These periods of dips and recovery largely correspond with the national lockdown measures’ restrictions and easing respectively.
This has evidenced that the pandemic and working from home has taken a toll on the mental health of the population. Thus, it is clear that SMEs need to emphasize employee wellness, providing adequate support, policies, and programs.
4. Implement Prevention Measures
Though everyone is talking about the “new normal”, it is likely that nothing will ever go back to how it used to be. Even when the pandemic itself is over, the coronavirus will likely stay, and so it is important to implement prevention measures to ensure that there is not another spike in cases.
The Health and Safety Executive has published a thorough guide for working safely during the pandemic, which can easily be adapted to act as prevention measures even after the pandemic is over. Make sure that all your employees are educated on and compliant with your measures, and understand that these things will continue in the future.
5. Be Open and Honest
What the pandemic has shown is that no one wants to be kept in the dark. In times of national crisis, it is important to be open and honest, communicating with your customers and clients as transparently as possible.
In doing so, your customers will develop a sense of trust towards you, as they will be able to know what you are doing at every turn in order to prevent another shutdown and rebuild after this time of crisis.
And there you have it. With these five lessons in mind, your SME is sure to be prepared for everything that life throws your way.