We continue to navigate through the pandemic and adapt to different ways of living, both personally and professionally, from buying more online and changing our shopping habits to socially distancing in all interactions with other people and relying to doing more things online which we may of done face to face ‘Pre-Covid’. Businesses particularly have had many hurdles to jump as they start to return to the office because they are legally obliged to adapting their workplace to ensure they keep their staff and customers safe (screens, masks, signage, santising stations etc) whilst trying to work as normally as possible. As the economic impact also bites and sadly many people are made redundant, I take a look at how you, as a business can adapt to help your business and continue with it’s growth and recruitment plans whilst having minimal impact on your staff and customers.
Video Interviewing/Conferencing – To continue the usual process of recruiting new members of staff, modern technology can be utilised to make it easier when face-to-face meetings are not possible. Interviewing can still take place, but to keep the participants safe it may be better to use video calling as a better option. This can be done on popular sites such as Skype or Teams and more recently Zoom and can be set up just like a normal interview. It means you can put a face to a CV, conduct an interview as you would in person and the development of your company will not be stalled should you feel confident to move forward without meeting someone in person. It is a lot safer to use in situations like the current pandemic, as it prevents exposure and promotes social distancing and there’s also the environmental and cost benefit of neither party having to leave their house. Many businesses have also reduced the amount of physical meetings by using video as a way of conducting conferences with staff and stakeholders. This has been hugely beneficial for businesses operating internationally as flight restrictions have been imposed. Businesses have seen a huge cost, environmental and time saving in reverting to video conferencing which many businesses will continue to adapt post-pandemic.To browse the features of different sites, visit https://www.recruiter.com/i/top-10-video-interviewing-platforms/ which gives an overview of various platforms.
Remote Working – Many employees have been working from home over the past few months and its become apparent that many businesses have actually seen productivity increase so are embracing the change and will continue to allow their employees to continue to work from home post-pandemic. This gives your business a huge advantage, if you can maintain efficiency and run everything remotely. It will limit the damage done to your business and will allow you to return to normal a lot quicker and at the same time provide many benefits to your employees. It prevents the spreading of germs and keeps people safe in their homes in turn reducing their commuting time, saving them money and helping the environment, whilst allowing the company to operate as normal and hopefully avoiding having to lay employees off where possible. It is worth seeking professional HR advice (if you don’t have a HR department) to safely and legally implement measures to ensure your staff are healthy and happy and support is in place when expecting them to work from home, considering the effects on someone’s mental health and the effects of not physically having a team around you. Some measures include holding regular video meetings, communicating effectively on a person by person basis and using motivational techniques to keep the team on form. Remember you also need to consider any implications of the work someone does from home making sure they remain compliant, having suitable company IT equipment in place and keeping it secure and ensuring all GDPR legislation is fully adhered to. All companies should have a business contingency plan in place which covers home working and it’s a good idea to ensure you work closely with your IT department/support provider to ensure your IT is secure. It’s also important to make sure your phone system is up to date by using the latest technology like PBX which will make any transition to working from home full-time a lot less stressful and reliable. These measures will ensure you can work in a “business as normal” environment from the comfort of your own home.
Keeping Candidates & Your Staff Safe – When conducting face to face interviews then it is important to consider the safety of the candidates you are coming into contact with. Following NHS & Government guidelines is vital for any business no matter what health crisis we are experiencing but during this period of uncertainty implementing a risk assessment to establish whether anyone has been effected by the virus prior to any interview can ensure you are following a safer recruitment practice which in turn keeps you and your staff safe as well as the candidate. As an employer who wants to demonstrate that your environment is safe to work in then you should also be adhering to the social distancing rules, using masks where appropriate and ensure your offices are clean and healthy by encouraging good hygiene, providing sanitiser and following other guidelines as directed by your local health authority and/or your Health & Safety Officer. The health and safety of your staff and potential staff should be your priority, so to mitigate any risk will be reassuring for all parties.
Keeping Your Business Working – A review of the company processes and day-to-day running can be very beneficial and as many businesses adapt their whole work processes, now is also a good time to review all your company policies. This whole crisis has changed many aspects of our lives and highlighted how businesses can operate more efficiently. For many businesses it has highlighted pitfalls in processes and allowed the business a chance to review & change how certain tasks are performed, how your employees can work differently and how you can provide services and products differently to your customers. In the early stages of the lock-down many companies advised their customers of longer call/email responding times or delays in delivery times as employees were furloughed or businesses struggled to adapting to a whole workforce suddenly needing to work from home, but as businesses have adapted and implemented new systems and processes many businesses have returned to normal but many of their employees continue to work from home. This demonstrates how businesses have evolved rapidly to operate in this new environment whilst reducing the impact it’s had on it’s business and ultimately it’s customers. Continually reviewing processes and procedures will allow your business to thrive during trying times as we’ve experienced over the past few months.
Embrace Online – As most businesses advertise online and use social media, now is the time for ALL businesses to really embrace online exposure. Perhaps you have only posted on social media once a month or updated your website every couple of years. It’s vital that all businesses regularly update and post on social media and their website more often. Explore SEO, paid social media posts such as Facebook Boosts or broader advertising such as Google Adwords. For smaller businesses online marketing can be quite overwhelming so it’s always best to speak to a professional social media/online marketing expert for advice.
I am here to provide any help I can and I can also recommend many trusted companies to approach for HR, marketing, accountancy, legal and other business advice to help with the issues mentioned in this blog.
Wishing you and your business the very best.