Business un-usual, indeed!
Since the president’s first speech on the 15th of March, businesses have started taking the necessary steps in reducing the amount of staff working in office. At the same time schools have closed in action to reduce the number of people in one space at a time.
The effects were noticeable almost instantly as roads become less congested, with peak traffic almost non-existent and parking spaces free as far as the eye can see. The term “working from home” (or WFH which has become more commonly used) has been dubbed the catchphrase of 2020, but how has this affected production, have businesses adapted and what does this mean for small businesses?
Without a doubt, small businesses have been feeling and will continue to endure the effects of the Covid-19 virus as the number of people infected and affected by the virus steadily grow.
Most impacted are restaurants which have begun closing their doors, leaving those that are still operating with almost no patrons to serve, resulting in a reduction of staff over this period and now also having to reduce their operational hours, closing 18:00 daily, the time that most restaurants would be at their busiest.
Some restaurant owners have found a need in the market and have begun offering prepared meals, providing a fresh or frozen option for those self-isolating and avoiding the crowds as a smart way to still be delivering their services during this time.
Businesses have introduced rotational shifts allowing staff to alternate days or weeks in office with time working from home, a new practice in South Africa, but a concept that has been attempted and is practiced in other parts of the world with studies proving that it is an effective solution and should possibly be an everyday, general procedure.
This would have favourably dramatic effects on our roads, pollution levels, overcrowding and overall quality of life just to mention a few, but understandably this doesn’t apply to all sectors of business like those in retail, medical, construction and manufacturing industries who have had to continue their business practices while taking all necessary step in protecting their personnel.
So while we continue working from home, staying safe, protecting and providing for our families we need to honour and support those that are still going to work each day to ensure we are able to abide to survive the Coronavirus.
There is a lot that can be learned over this time as studies are being conducted on productivity levels as people continue to work from home, possibly proving that bums in seats doesn’t equal high levels of productivity and as pollution levels decrease globally it highlights the damage our current day-to-day lifestyles have on the planet which needs to addressed and corrected.
With studies confirming that rotational shifts or working from home is an effective working solution, businesses will be able to decrease the size of their infrastructure, spending less money on the expenses needed to operate a building that would normally house 1000 people and now only cater to the 500 in office, creating funds for growth in other departments of the business, or even its people.
History has proven that some of the greatest inventions have come out of times of war and out of times of need, so as we continue the war against the Covid-19 virus we need to learn, adapt and invent not only to overcome this global pandemic but to also better our future and the well-being of our planet.