By the time you’re reading this, it will become increasingly clear that the novel coronavirus, more precisely Covid-19, is having a major impact on businesses. For many, this is a time of great economic uncertainty. However, for us, this is a time of considerable economic opportunity. By building a culture dependent on who we are, not where we meet, making staying in touch a priority, and through training and adapting, not only will we be able to survive, but we will be able to thrive as a result.
Culture Beyond the Water Cooler
Of course, not every company is this lucky. However, more than anything we have seen a willingness to move away from the office as Covid-19 becomes more rampant. Crucial to being able to do so is to maintain company culture; after all, we are more than just a paycheck. It is wise to think so, as with all the other stressors that will fill people’s lives in the coming weeks, we have the opportunity to be a source of stability and normalcy for our employees.
That means being willing to move beyond the water cooler, coffee pot, and break room. Instead, whereas before our company culture was largely based on a split of direct personal contact and contact through electronic means, be it phone calls or emails, now it will hinge almost exclusively on the latter. That is not such a bad thing.
Staying in Touch
First, let’s take a look at the more formal forms of communication. These are those that will likely be used during meetings, as well as during consultations with clients. Many of these are video-based, meaning that you’ll get everything you would normally get from a face to face meeting, except the handshake (which, to be fair, is probably best avoided now anyway!).
For those instances where a one on one meeting is desirable, Skype works exceptionally well. Likewise, if you are looking to have more than one other party present, Zoom offers a number of options that fit the requirements of many small businesses. Likewise, other providers like GoTo Meeting offer increased functionality.
If you’re only looking for phone support, then FreeConferenceCall.com can let you reach up to 1,000 people at once, making it ideal for weekly updates with your employees!
Of course, there are still some best practices to keep in mind. Make sure to dress in business attire, although except for interviews, discussions with potential clients, and the like, business casual is going to be more of the order of the day. Also, consider your background; a neutral wallpaper or painted wall is a better choice than images of your favorite sports team. Finally, while interruptions from younger interlopers may be unavoidable, try to limit them by making sure that children are attended to before the meeting.
Beyond those, business owners can also utilize a number of different, more informal methods to stay in touch. Many of these are text-based, harkening back to the old days of AIM and ICQ. Slack is by far the most famous, and offers a great deal of functionality for free. Likewise, Google Hangouts is also a great option. Even LinkedIn has a great messaging platform built into its functionality. These allow you to attach files, save conversations, and jump on a video call if greater clarification is necessary.
One note, however, about using such apps. Outside of formal meetings, recognize that working from home is about being flexible. Don’t take advantage of Slack to check in on employees every waking minute; many may have family members that require care, and such micromanagement will only cause company culture to suffer.
A number of studies have shown that the average office worker only truly works for three hours a day, despite being at the office for eight. That statistic should offer some light onto how much your staff can get done every day, but it should also show that there is an opportunity for employee training during the slowdown.
With lines of communication more clearly drawn into formal and informal camps, the leadership of your company should be able to find time to accelerate their own training. LinkedIn has provided a number of courses for how to best work and manage during the pandemic for free, and other providers are offering a number of other courses.
Given all that is going on, it may also be the perfect time to think outside of the box. As different countries are responding differently to the pandemic, providing some basic cultural and language training to your executive and sales teams could open up surprising new opportunities for economic growth in the future. While there are severe limitations on moving people across borders currently, there are no such difficulties with moving information.
Training for Everyone
Training does not just have to be focused on the executive leadership. Chances are that many of your employees could also benefit from the sort of seminars being offered as well. Again, while it is not fair to stuff their days with training classes, some focused seminars will help alleviate stress while also increasing company culture.
Feel free to reach out to your employees and ask them what would be most beneficial for them, not only in their current roles, but also in their own professional development. You may well find that you have aspiring linguists, coders, efficiency experts, and much more.
Nurturing that talent now, when you have time to do so, will pay dividends later on. Even something as mundane as a speed reading course could allow your employees to process information more quickly, while also giving them a great personal asset.
Focus on Digital Marketing
One area where we see particular opportunity for training, and indeed for all aspects of the pandemic, is digital marketing. However, it must be the right kind of digital marketing, for the right product. Many individuals are going to be nervous spending superfluous money without good cause; while many people have been guaranteed earnings through the crisis, many others have not.
How We Help
Therefore, we have found that the best style of marketing to be used is B2B, and that means . However, with everything else going on during this time, the opportunity to further streamline your digital marketing efforts would be invaluable. That’s where kennected.org comes in. Using our proprietary methods, you can add significantly to your bottom line, even in the leanest of times.
By focusing on the sort of lead that you want to gain from LinkedIn, we help you identify them, connect with them, and begin building a relationship that will pay dividends now and later. In doing so, you can not only provide valuable services to another company, but also provide the sort of stability to your employees that is the true hallmark of great company culture.