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Keep your business working during coronavirus

Mar 20, 2020



Firstly, and most importantly, I want to start of by saying how terrible the COVID-19 issue is and that we at JCH Safety Ltd wish all of our clients, suppliers and people who read this blog the best of health as we move forward. We are getting quite a few messages from clients who are reporting significant disruption to their businesses. This is obviously due to the virus causing big health concerns for staff and their families and also due to some supply issues. Some of our clients depend heavily on imports from Europe and the wider world and due to issues being faced this is having detrimental effects on business. As health and safety management consultants, JCH Safety understands this situation only too well. Many companies are in serious issues and it is important for business to stabilise as soon as possible. The question is how will this look? I am so pleased to hear that many businesses are being really resourceful and making the most of a difficult situation. Many companies are facing serious issues. Importantly though, many of my clients have developed ingenious ways to work remotely and from home. They are looking for new ways to survive as businesses and maybe in the long term this will bring growth. Clients are understanding the need for new business models and remarkably some companies are continuing to trade fairly successfully. I wanted to share some experience about how to keep businesses trading safely during the coronavirus crisis and to offer some thoughts for homeworkers:

1. Support your team

People are you No.1 resource. Look after your staff and they will look after your business. Where possible facilitate them working from home. Assist them to establish safe home offices and trust them to do what they say they will do. It is important that your staff carry out DSE assessments, we can help you with these if you need them. Arrange regular online conference calls and continue to set targets and objectives. Furthermore, expect these targets to be achieved. As part of your regular correspondence with your team spend some time to ask them how they are getting on. Find out what their concerns are and reassure them. There is a lot of uncertainty out there and worries about pay, mortgages and bills demotivates staff. Be honest with your team and explain the difficulties the business is facing but always look for some positive news.

2. Keep up enthusiasm

You need your staff to be happy. Some people love to work from home and it really suits them. For others, it is isolating and causes anxiety. Try and find some fun it all. Arrange online games or a quick quiz to give your staff time to laugh and interact with their colleagues, even though they are working from home. Where possible, offer rewards that could be delivered directly to your staff. Keep up competition in sales teams and this will help to drive the business. One good idea I have heard for a company who normally has a breakfast meeting each Friday in Coventry, is that they arrange and pay for a McDonalds home delivery breakfast for staff to have at home during the conference call. It keeps staff motivated and helps them to feel valued.

3. Keep staff informed

Make sure you are briefing your team regularly. Remind them to keep their home offices clean and sanitised. Share important safety briefings, keep up with toolbox talks and online training. During isolation, online courses are a great idea. We offer a variety of online training course that your team could get done during this time. Remind staff about working safely, avoiding manual handling and taking regular breaks from PCs. It is important to remember DSE regulations at this time.

4. Risk Assess

Ensure your business is keeping on top of the risk assessment. It is likely that your risks have changed significantly due to the growth of COVID-19. Review and update it and don’t forget to share it with your staff. You still have health and safety duties you must fulfil.

5. Keep Positive

As business leaders across Coventry and Warwickshire, you need to motivate and inspire your team. Everyone is concerned at the moment. The news is grim. Instead of concentrating on the negative set the narrative differently. Report good news such as people having babies, new contracts being awarded and what your favourite playlists are at the moment. Positive vibes are good for business. If your team are interacting with your clients they need to have energy and motivation when they are doing it.

6. Innovate

Sometimes good things come from difficult times. We have clients who are looking at new markets and making the most of difficult times. We have clients innovating, looking for new suppliers and new clients. Don’t let your business go down by staying stagnant. We have to accept that the world is a different place so we need to look at different ways of doing things. Speak to suppliers and clients and ask if they have new products and ideas or things they need. Ask clients what they are short of at the moment. You might find new markets appear.

JCH Safety Ltd are a leading occupational health and safety consultancy based in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. We work across Warwickshire, Birmingham and the West Midlands providing health and safety advice and fire prevention services such as fire risk assessments. During the coronavirus, we are working closely with companies helping them to work safely through the difficulties many companies are facing. If you require any assistance, please do not hesitate to get in touch.