The pandemic has made things incredibly difficult for the majority of small businesses over the last year. Some have been forced to shut down, while others have had to tread carefully through fear that one wrong move could prove disastrous.
The situation has taken its toll on a lot of people mentally and financially, but businesses should know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Although it’s still a while away, as long as they avoid falling into any pitfalls over the coming months, they have a good chance of surviving this nightmare.
Any small business owners looking for a little help in this current climate would do well to avoid these five issues.
Denying Employees Flexibility
Flexibility at work is something that many employees have been asking about for years now. At first, their wishes were overlooked because the vast majority of businesses were afraid that making such a change would have consequences. However, the events of 2020 have proven that people are adaptable, and they can still complete their work even if without the 9 to 5 office structure.
If you’re counting down the days until you can get everyone back into that routine, you might want to stop. Denying your employees the flexibility to work the hours that suit them best only risks hindering their productivity and performance. If the quality and quantity of their work haven’t dropped since adopting a more flexible approach to their job, why change it? Less than a fifth of employees prefer working 9 to 5, so forcing this structure back on them will only have a negative impact on your turnover.
Forgetting About Customer Retention
Small businesses always need to make money, but in the middle of a pandemic, it’s more important than ever. To achieve this, a lot of people have focused their efforts on bringing in new customers so that they have greater sources of revenue. However, this isn’t necessarily the smartest move.
Not only can it be quite a challenging and costly affair to bring in new customers, but it also risks pushing away those who have been utilising your services for a long time. If you don’t show existing customers that they’re just as valuable to you, they won’t feel compelled to support you during these difficult times. That could have the detrimental impact on your business that you’ve been desperate to avoid.
Insisting On Office Working
For many people, being able to work in an office is nice because it provides a social environment that gets them out of the house. However, many employees have had to adjust to being without these spaces in 2020 because of the pandemic. It’s probably best that things stay that way for the time being, even if the government allows workers to return to offices. It’ll save you some money which could be of critical importance to your business during the pandemic.
Your business can still function efficiently without an office space, providing you have effective IT support to ensure everyone stays online and connected. If you’re looking for London IT support, your best bet is to go with Totality Services. Specializing in IT security, support, and services, they’re available any day at any time, no matter whether you’re at home or in an office. It’s not easy to find IT companies in London this dedicated to keeping your business thriving in a pandemic.
Overlooking Safety Precautions
If you do decide to hold on to your office space, it’s essential that you don’t overlook safety precautions. You don’t need to be told how easily this virus can spread, so the best way to keep it out of your workspace is to follow all the necessary guidelines.
Not only should you ensure that the office is cleaned thoroughly and regularly, but you should also try to keep employees distant from one another. As much as people may wish to mingle, the dangers pose too much of a risk. Employees also shouldn’t be forced to return to the office if they don’t feel comfortable doing so. Not everyone is going to be okay with being around others right now, and that’s something that should be respected.
One of the reasons that small businesses have been affected so badly by the pandemic is that a lot of them have seen a drop in workload. Without stuff to do with their days, employees have felt powerless as their futures have dangled precariously on the line.
Obviously, if there’s no work available, there’s not much that can be done about that. However, that doesn’t mean that days should be spent doing nothing. Downtime like this is the perfect opportunity to train up staff in both new and existing skills. Employees, particularly younger ones, are eager for bosses to champion their learning, so this is an excellent opportunity to boost staff relations as well as making all those free hours productive.
As with anything that’s happened over the last year, it’s hard to predict what the future holds for small businesses both during and after the pandemic. However, provided you avoid these pitfalls, you should hopefully make it through the rough times ahead and come out the other side stronger than ever.