Social Distancing is a term that epidemiologists are using to discourage close physical interactions in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Okay, I get it. Concerts and festivals are off the table (bye-bye SXSW). Avoid public transportation and crowded venues. Wash my hands like I’m about to perform surgery.
But what does Social Distancing mean for business?
First of all, your business doesn’t have to close its doors because of social distancing. Companies and consumers should try to maintain normal activities to support the local economy—but with increased hygiene and safety practices.
Secondly, make sure your staff is informed about hygiene procedures. Post handwashing instructions and social distancing best practices on-site or in the office. Send out a company-wide email about new standard operating procedures (SOPs) around hygiene and workplace cleanliness. I suggest performing training for staff as well.
But the safest option? Remote working.
It may seem impossible to continue business while reducing or nearly eliminating person-to-person interaction, but it isn’t. Remote working has gained popularity for years. Almost everyone has access to a computer or smartphone and the internet, and that’s all you need.
You might be saying, “Well, working remotely is great for typical desk jobs, but not my business!”
Many times, we do business with one method because we’ve always done it that way. But when that approach becomes impracticable, we have to try something new. Let’s explore how we can make remote work part of your business.
How to Implement Remote Working in Your Service-Based Business
Clients and customers are aware of the virus, so they’ll be understanding when you suggest a Skype meeting or phone call. FaceTime clients, utilize screen-sharing options and explore the options that video or email provides for you to connect with your clients.
If you have a labor workforce that needs to be on-site, chunk together tasks that can be done remotely. Then utilize your workforce only when necessary. When your workforce is on-site, enact new/increased SOPs around hygiene and workplace cleanliness.
With recent advances in technology, there are many remote alternatives service-based businesses can use to handle much of their work. It may take some digging to find your particular solution, but it can keep your business running. And you can take some of the best parts of remote working and implement them into your business SOPs and set your company up for success in the future.
Check out these tools:
- Zoom – Videoconferencing
- Slack – In-office communication
- Basecamp – Project management software (This company themselves has been 100% remote since Day 1)
- Google Drive, Dropbox – Cloud storage
- Evernote – Note-taking app
- iDoneThis – Daily task manager
- Hub Staff – Employee management, payroll software, GPS tracking, online invoicing, and project budgeting
- DocuSign – Electronic document signing
What if I Don’t?
On the other side of the coin, if you choose to stop business altogether or make some unsustainable budget cuts, what if the social distancing push lasts for a month? How about 6 months? Can your business weather the coronavirus storm indefinitely?
Eventually, it will be over, and you can get back to work. But no matter how long the pandemic sticks around for, the world will not be the same. This global phenomenon will force businesses to change their business models, operations, how they engage with their audience and so much more.
The reality is this: There’s a real possibility you, a client, or your staff could contract COVID-19. Do what you can to help stop the spread as much as possible.
Conclusion: Stay Home
Stay home as much as you can but that doesn’t mean your business has to come to a screeching halt. Find the tools that work for what you need and start using them. Together, we can squeeze the life out of the virus by preventing it from spreading. Stay safe!
I’m a mom, a small business owner, and I’m a marketing professional with over a decade helping businesses with their branding and online presence. When I’m not spending time with my family or on my business, I love cooking (and eating) and snuggling with my dogs while I binge on TV shows. My favorite authors are Malcolm Gladwell and Steve Martin. My favorite movies are L.A. Story, Little Mermaid, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Trainspotting.