When I first started drafting this blog post, I was hoping to take a post-pandemic angle. But as the delta variant continues to surge, and much like we’ve seen over the last year and a half, many things in this rapidly-changing landscape remain uncertain. So instead, I rolled up six operations takeaways we’ve learned here at Voxus in-the-midst-of the pandemic. Let’s dive-in:
1. Employee health
At this point, everyone is feeling the mental and physical health strain from the pandemic. It’s easy for an employer to express the importance of things like spending time with family, healthy eating, and regular exercise, but employers can’t force these actions or values. And rightfully so. These values are personal and different for everyone. So, what is the employer’s role? Think about ways you can increase awareness by talking about health in the workplace and encourage your employees to get out and do things that bring the work/life balance we all crave. In addition, let’s not forget to keep an eye out for employees who may be struggling and offer support when possible. Checking in, providing resources for mental health services, and offering the occasional summer Friday all go a long way in supporting well-being.
2. Managing employees and projects in a remote environment
Micromanaging employees is tedious and extraordinarily difficult in a remote environment. Though at times still necessary, we’ve shifted to a method where, as leaders, we’re relying more on the anticipation of when work might go in the wrong direction. Two-way communication is key. While managers need to set clear expectations for employees, help develop project management tools, and keep a virtual open door, employees need to feel comfortable asking questions when uncertainty remains and asking for guidance or examples when necessary.
3. Remote working environment and beyond
This remote working environment has turned out great for us. Employees are trustworthy and productive. But we’re all missing the in-office experience of interacting with our co-workers. Now that most of our employees are vaccinated, we are looking at ways to safely get together, whether that’s an occasional in-person happy hour or monthly team meetings at a local coffee shop. These don’t need to be frequent or mandatory but it’s a nice bridge for our employees in a post-pandemic world.
4. Stay nimble and understand how clients and customers are adapting
It’s always been important to understand your clients, but now it’s important to understand how your clients are adapting to post-pandemic life. How have their needs changed and what can you do differently to help them succeed? I covered this more in-depth in my last blog post, and you can read about my key takeaways here.
5. Technology – stay up to date
Those companies that didn’t stay up to date with technology and had to move everyone to a remote environment when the pandemic hit, made a lot of drastic changes to their core infrastructure. Switching to a cloud-based phone system, adding remote server access, implementing virus protection, and updating video conferencing and messaging systems is a lot for any business to handle. Those that moved early weren’t forced to make those foundational changes under the pressure of a pandemic threatening the very existence of their business. So, now that we’ve all moved to the cloud (you have moved, right?) and survived this phase of the pandemic, what’s the next move your company needs to make? We’re looking for new ways to support the effectiveness of our employee’s home office and looking forward to participating in 3D virtual events and conventions.
6. Business resilience and continuity
I think we can all agree, money solves most problems. However, next time catastrophe strikes, there might not be a PPP loan to help keep your business afloat. There’s no time like the present to plan ahead and put together a rough plan of action for unexpected events that may disrupt your business. Like a map of fire exits in a building, or an emergency supply of food and water, chances are you will never need it; however, an economy closing event (war, computer virus, pandemic, etc.) could be right around the corner. Think about essential resources such as phone, internet, and servers, and don’t neglect the human element. Cross-training employees, or networking with other vendors could provide that one resource you fall short of.
While a lot is still rapidly changing thanks to the pandemic, there are some things you can and should plan for to keep your business running smoothly. Afterall, you never know when the next emergency will hit.