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How Can Small Businesses Get Through Tough Times

Even when the economic waters are still, any businessperson will tell you that running a business is not a walk in the park. It becomes much more difficult when tough times come. While some small businesses sail through the murky waters successfully, a good percentage bow to pressure and call it quits. There is a thin line between your business surviving or dying in such tough times, and what you do makes all the difference. Here are some strategies that small businesses can adopt to stay afloat through the tough times.
 
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How to Manage Workplace Disruption During The COVID-19 Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the world, workplace disruption is inevitable. Some of the measures recommended to slow the spread of the virus are to observe social distancing and avoid crowded places. In this length, there is a need for organizations to send workers home and to adjust the workplaces to reflect these measures. Managing this disruption has been quite a challenge even to the most experienced of managers. If this has been an uphill task for you, read through for some tips on how to effectively manage workplace disruption at this time while still keeping productivity at optimal levels.

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Now Is Actually The Perfect Time To Measure Employee Engagement

If we were to tell you that the COVID-19 pandemic is an ideal time to measure your organization’s level of employee engagement, you might think we were absolutely bonkers. But some of you out there (that is, the astute ones) will undoubtedly realize this is actually a smart thing to do.

 
Why? Because managers at high-performing organizations know that employee surveys are not simply yearly “beauty contests” or check-the-box exercises meant to cover up underlying organizational problems with one-size-fits-all engagement scores. The real value in employee surveys is to uncover the truth about your employees’ experience in multiple areas in order to fix the things that confuse, bother or hurt them and do more of the things that help them.
 
If you fail to take the opportunity to gauge employee engagement during difficult times, you throw away the chance to get their real unvarnished opinions. If instead, you try to schedule your survey at a time when employees might be less stressed and happier, you are literally sabotaging your ability to get to the truth and to really understand what is driving your employees.
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Six Tips for Keeping Your Team Connected While Quarantined

There is no doubt that these are challenging times. With only essential businesses open for face-to-face transactions during the pandemic, other businesses have closed or are operating on a remote basis. 

Those working remotely must reimagine their positions and adjust to the lack of immediate interaction, direction, and oversight that is readily available in a physical workspace. Employees used to an informal, collaborative office environment must pivot 180 degrees and function individually while mastering the various technologies that allow them to communicate with coworkers and clients.

How can human resources professionals and supervisors help their team adjust on the fly? First, they can think of this as an opportunity to create a new normal, where in the world post-coronavirus there remains the option of working remotely effectively and efficiently, perhaps reducing the need for permanent physical office space and its attendant costs, and increasing reliance on emerging technologies. Next, they can implement these six tips to aid in the transition from on-site operations to remote operations.

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Boosting Employee Productivity During Remote Working

Technological advancements have engineered many changes in the labor market; workers are now able to work as freelancers and employers are able to set-up remote teams with little to no hitches. Remote working allows employees the much-needed flexibility to work when they feel most productive without needing to abide by the traditional 9-5 timeline. Employers, on the other hand, are now able to outsource skills overseas, especially talents that aren’t available in their local labor market. Remote working also helps employers to save on overhead costs by eliminating the need for physical offices. Remote working is clearly a good trend for business. 

There is a challenge that plagues remote working, though: How do employees boost employee productivity for a remote workforce? Well, a recent market study by FlexJobs showed that with the right management techniques, 66% of professionals are happier and more productive working from their homes than in an office. Many workers argue that they get less distracted when working from remote locations because there are no unnecessary impromptu meetings, no office drama or politics, and no bosses breathing down their necks.

But while that could be true, managing a remote team’s productivity isn’t as easy or straightforward as some studies make it seem. Employers live with the constant fear that their remote workers might relax and fail to deliver services efficiently or up to the needed standards. That is why you need to learn the following proper management tips for leveraging the flexibility of a remote workforce without sacrificing productivity. 

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Work (from home) Wellness

sleep at work workload

Kaiser Permanente: 10 tips to enhance your well-being while working remotely

Get dressed

As enticing as it is to work in your pajamas, it is not a recommended practice. Getting dressed, brushing your teeth and fixing your hair can help you transition into your workday and make you feel more confident (as well as help you avoid that terrifying moment when your video conferencing camera switches on).

Set aside a designated work area

Create and keep a dedicated workspace. Whether it’s a home office, a desk in the corner of your living room or even the kitchen table, make sure it works for you. Pay attention to your body position and eye strain, making adjustments as needed. Try to make your workspace a place you enjoy going to each day by surrounding yourself with things that inspire you. This can help you focus and do your best work.

Schedule walking meetings

Walking meetings can be done virtually. This works especially well if both participants are working remotely and commit to the walk. Snap a picture of where you are walking and share it with your walking buddy!

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Why Driving is Currently the Safest Form of Business Travel

405 million long-distance business trips are taken in the U.S. each year — a number that's greater than the entire American population. However, due to current flight and business restrictions, and health risks posed by traveling in general, this number is set to plummet. Thankfully, essential businesspeople can still keep their pressing appointments by vehicle, which, if the definition of “safest” is specific to illness avoidance, is currently the safest mode of travel. Of course, traveling by car confers other benefits now that road trips are vastly more efficient.   

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HR Response to COVID-19

In late March 2020, Insightlink Communications offered a survey to HR professionals in which they could share their organizations’ actions, thoughts, responses and concerns regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. The 109 participants are from a wide variety of industries, ranging in size from just 17 employees up to 90,000 employees, across a wide array of for-profit industries, non-profits/NGOs and governmental organizations.

These HR professionals describe the struggles their organizations are facing as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the strategies they are using to protect their employees and their businesses, lessons already learned and concerns for the future.

 

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Simple Steps To Make An Office Environmentally-Friendly

83% of Americans are looking for ways to lead more sustainable lives, but when it comes to going to work, it can be difficult to do this if employers aren’t on the same page. Many employees want to see their employer making efforts to go green, but often can’t compromise their paycheck to work somewhere that does. Carrying out employee surveys will help companies see what areas their workers want to see changes and become involved in the process.

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Coronavirus Guidance for HR

CDC is asking employers to do all they can to slow Coronavirus

How should HR, supervisors and managers respond to these concerns? How it might impact their employees and what resources are available to help? To begin with:

  • Make sure employees who are sick stay home until their symptoms resolve. 
     
  • Encourage remote working if possible. Telework is a critical tool for reducing the spread of sickness by minimizing face-to-face contact, and maintaining business continuity if employees are asked to self-isolate or quarantine. 
     
  • Remind employees that work travel must be limited and/or restricted in some cases
     
  • Encourage employees to follow simple precautions to prevent the spread of disease.
     
  • Strongly encourage canceling or postponing large in-person meetings and events or using video technology instead of live gatherings.

Here are some additional resources for HR:

SHRM - Coronavirus Preparedness Plan

HR Executive - Coronavirus Communications

Entrepreneur - How Business Should Handle Coronavirus

 

 

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About

Insightlink Communications are experts in employee survey design, data collection and analysis. Since 2001 we've helped companies of all sizes measure and improve their employee satisfaction and engagement.



4Cs Blog Home

Recent Posts


How Can Small Businesses Get Through Tough Times

How to Manage Workplace Disruption During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Now Is Actually The Perfect Time To Measure Employee Engagement

Six Tips for Keeping Your Team Connected While Quarantined

Boosting Employee Productivity During Remote Working

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Favorite Links


Engaged Employees Blog

HR ToolKit Guide to Employee Surveys
Good info on how to write surveys

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Makes 360 assessment surveys easy.

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Canadian Labour Market Information

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Labour Market Activites

SHRM
Society for Human Resources Management

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Human Resources Professionals Association

Harvard Business Review
Essential Information for Leaders