How San Diego Businesses Can Survive the Pandemic and Become Stronger From It
San Diego’s restrictions in response to COVID-19 offer an opportunity for some businesses to transition to a stronger and more agile position. Business leaders should be very intentional about their actions and communication in this “new normal.” While the situation is potentially devastating to restaurants, bars, tourism, and the events industry, other businesses may be able to get through this period and even come through more adept to take on the future of work.
Jennifer Barnes, CEO of Optima Office, which provides outsourced accounting and HR, shares that the future of work has been shifted, in many ways for the better. She offers, “Good leaders should always be thinking about how to best support their team. If employees can work remotely in an engaged and efficient manner, then it makes sense. Leaders who have not implemented these policies will undoubtedly be forced to evolve.”
As the situation evolves, companies should continue to reassess their business. Barnes explains, “While some factors are unknown, like the length of the pandemic, the fact remains that you know significantly more about what your business will face this year than you did in January. By re-working your 2020 revenue projections to account for this economic shift, you will have a far better grasp on what decisions you should be making now to survive or flourish this year.” She continues, “Even though the external situation is unpredictable, by preparing carefully, your business can continue to operate in a somewhat predictable way. Either way, you’ll be able to consider various backup plans.”
San Diego business management consultant Dan Negroni, founder of launchbox365, offers, “Both management and employees may be feeling overwhelmed and anxious during this COVID-19 crisis. Now, many will need to adapt to working remotely, including trying to manage children being home from school, implementing new technology, and seeking to maintain productivity to continue to generate revenue. However, this crisis can serve as an opportunity to help companies rapidly transition to the future of work.”
The future of work in one in which a remote team is the rule, not the exception, and the virtual workplace promotes productivity, transparency, and meaningful work. In this time of confusion, executives and leaders need to step up. Negroni shares, “The first essential step for leaders is to decrease fear. In this time of uncertainty, employees want to know you have a plan and that they are a priority to you. Start by listening to them, asking what they need during this time. Your team is going to have very different needs and concerns at this time, so ask questions and get to know their individual situations and fears. This is the first step on the path to decreasing your employees’ feelings of isolation. Implement daily or weekly video calls with direct reports to make sure lines of communication stay open during this transition. Ensure your employees know that video and phone is much more powerful than email and text, and to employ these tools as often as possible.”
As important as technology is, it is the people that are still the center of the workplace. Negroni explains, “Human interaction has become even more important to successfully run a business. Humans want connection and meaning. They want contribution and impact. They want to feel seen and heard. They want immediate feedback. But most of all, they want to matter.”