How to reduce the impact of the pandemic on businesses?

By: Pedro Ferreira - February 17, 2022

How to reduce the impact of the pandemic on businesses?

A little less than two years ago, the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in Mozambique. The period that followed the news announcing the pandemic was marked by the beginning of unprecedented measures, carried out by the government, as a way to contain the spread of covid-19 and prevent the collapse of the health system. The various preventive and restrictive measures that were being announced have had a significant impact not only on people's daily lives, but also on the operations of most organizations and businesses. Although necessary, according to the health authorities, these measures had a negative impact on the economy, leading to the closure of many small and medium-sized companies and, consequently, the loss of many jobs. It is therefore important to know how to reduce the impact of the pandemic on companies.

Faced with the worsening of the pandemic, many companies had to redefine themselves and devise strategies to soften the losses and reduce the negative impacts of Covid-19 on their business.

At the moment, and regardless of the current pandemic situation, it is imperative to take bolder measures to help reduce the risk of the impacts of covid-19 on companies and to prepare them for the future. Setting up a home office system and allowing employees to work from home is a measure to be taken into account, as are many other possibilities that are based on the exploitation of the era of information and communication technologies and reduce dependence on human interaction. Betting on e-commerce, delivery or sales via WhatsApp, which is already a widely used means of communication in Mozambique, is another example that fits the measures to reduce the impact of the pandemic on companies. Below are some practical examples of how companies can prepare and help reduce the damage caused by the coronavirus.

Is there a way to reduce the impact of the pandemic on companies without investing in health and safety?

Betting first on the health and safety of employees and customers of your business shows how a company is concerned and engaged with the human factor, that is, the well-being and protection of its most important assets, as well as demonstrating the commitment to reduce the negative impacts of the pandemic on its operations. This involves implementing some sanitary practices to keep employees and customers safe. Instituting some necessary safe distancing practices among personnel and incorporating the use of masks, gloves, acrylic barriers, and so on. Creating different work teams to minimize the risk of your entire team being forced to isolate can be another way out. The most important thing is to allow concern for everyone's health and safety to be part of the routine of the company's operation.

Prepare a Communication Plan

A well-structured communication, whether internally to employees or auxiliary staff, or externally, to customers or suppliers can prove to be very useful during times of crisis. When it comes to outbreaks like Covid-19, misinformation is always a big challenge. To keep employees updated on the latest information and any changes to corporate policy, make sure you implement regular and consistent communication. It is necessary to carefully create a clear and concise message about the ways in which the company works and any changes; schedule regular updates and optimize the tools for sending messages. It is also important to assign this task to someone you trust and expertise, as any miscommunication can prove harmful and corrupt efforts to prevent the negative effects of the pandemic on your company.

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Plan Continuously

When it comes to a developing public health crisis, such as the covid-19 pandemic, the information available and the corresponding measures to be adopted are constantly changing. This demonstrates the need for a more agile, contextual and focused planning approach. This approach requires more involvement from leaders and employees, as well as ongoing planning that allows for changes and changes as new information emerges. However, this also requires further thinking about employee skills inventory and how the company can allocate employees outside of their primary role if necessary.

Migrate to Digital and Bet on Remote Work

With the pandemic affecting the functioning of companies, a lot has changed. The way work, shopping and social contacts are carried out to a greater or lesser extent in the virtual world. The consequences are changes in the way we learn and work together, how we perform everyday tasks, how we shop and how we consume. Those who are not yet digitally positioned will need to quickly follow suit and overcome the obstacles that keep them away from digitization. Betting on tools to support remote work and determining methods to support collaboration, clear communication and measuring and tracking the productivity of those who work remotely is a step forward to reduce the negative impacts of the pandemic on companies. This implies investing in technology to manage work teams and to more accurately schedule and track the time of your workers during working hours.

make work more flexible

The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed a significant portion of the workforce to work from home. Other arrangements were made for employees to work more flexible hours or days, often to balance work with other responsibilities, such as raising children or taking care of themselves. As companies begin to change and evolve to support new ways of working, a way must be found to study and apply these changes in a way that benefits everyone without jeopardizing the company's operations. There is even research that indicates that flexibility can be beneficial for inclusion, well-being, sustainability and increased productivity.

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Review the Operating Strategy

Covid-19 implies a significant disruption in the operations of many companies and non-normal functioning. Therefore, it is necessary to adopt measures that can help companies overcome the challenges of the pandemic in their business. This involves reviewing strategies to ensure business continuity. Assess your liquidity and check your cash flow frequently to anticipate risks and take immediate action. On the other hand, companies must monitor rising costs and their impact on profit margins and intervene or renegotiate when necessary. As well as they must continuously monitor the situation of their customers, suppliers, contractors or partners and ensure delivery obligations.

Contact all Business Stakeholders

Clear, transparent and timely communication is necessary to lay the groundwork for business recovery and ensure ongoing support from customers, employees, suppliers, creditors, investors and the state itself.

Proactively, it is necessary to inform customers if there is a threat of restrictions on services or products or if contractual obligations cannot be met. It is also important to keep in touch with suppliers and find out about their ability to deliver goods and services and consider alternative options, if necessary.

Preparing for the New Normal

Once companies test new strategies and inform all stakeholders about the realignment, they should proceed with operations based on the new plans. At the same time, they must pay attention to constant changes. Once the pandemic is under control, companies will need to review how to continue business, reassess management and check for deficiencies and possible causes. Based on the newly acquired knowledge, companies will then be able to establish new guidelines, as well as robust contingency plans, in order to become more resilient and better able to react to future crises.

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