In the past few weeks, any and all conversation has been taken over by the Coronavirus crisis, which has quickly become just about everyone’s single biggest concern. Minimising the spread of the virus from human to human is now the top priority for governments, businesses and individuals alike.
Last week, I ran some numbers to model the spread of the virus, in an effort to demonstrate the severity of the situation and the importance of all of us self-isolating - you can read that here. Based on the current growth trend, a worldwide recession appears imminent and inevitable. This, of course, will impact both big and small companies, including the SMEs that you and I work for.
The good news, if you work in a SaaS business, is that unlike having a local brick and mortar store such as bars and restaurants, your business probably has the natural advantage of being much less exposed to this recession. Some SaaS businesses, such as telecommunications software, are likely to come out the other side even stronger; others will struggle, but ultimately pull through. So what can your business do right now to minimise the impact of this crisis?
Embrace Working from Home as the New Normal
As a SaaS business, your entire company is likely already working from home. Your clients and suppliers are likely doing the same. At a time like this, keeping your employee engagement and team morale level high and robust is more crucial than ever. Armed with the technological solutions that make team collaboration possible, we are all now part of the biggest remote working experiment ever to be conducted. This will undoubtedly prove to be both an enormous challenge, and an incredible opportunity to think out of the box and get closer to our teams.
Here are a few tips for making the most out of the situation:
- Use team chat apps to keep the conversation flowing. If you’re not sure where to start, check out this article, where we laid out the best team collaboration tools we recommend for any SaaS team include the likes of Slack and Trello.
- Organise your projects around the remote working style, set up deliverable expectations, check-in points and structures accordingly. How this looks varies between different organisations, some companies have created a virtual office using Whereby, Google Hangout or Zoom to create a work environment that feels like business as usual.
- Arrange virtual team gatherings and social activities. Get everyone to order in snacks by giving your team Uber Eats or Deliveroo vouchers then play a series of online games together. A unique time like this is an opportunity to test your creativity.
Encourage Non-Work Related Activities
Have you ever heard of a company that has created such an incredible culture that colleagues feel more like family members? Believe or not, this can be a great opportunity to bond with your team. Many of us are spending long periods of time in isolation - and this will take its toll on our mental health. Take advantage of the fact that you and your colleagues are all in the same situation and lean on each other.
Here are a few ideas to help you feel a little bit closer to your team:
- Home workout: self-isolation might involuntarily turn us all into couch potatoes, so it’s important for our mental and physical health that we stay as active as possible. A great way to keep everybody emotionally upbeat and energetic is to host home workout sessions with your team: you can do this via apps like Nike Training Club or Fiton, or simply all log onto one of the live sessions that many gyms are currently running.
- Encourage your employees to pick up that musical instrument he or she has been too ‘busy’ to practice and play something for the team. Famous artists like Chris Martin and John Legend have been doing free home concerts, why not have your team do the same?
- Host a team movie night: pick a movie on Netflix or Amazon Prime, and don’t forget to pay for the streaming account and the popcorn!
- Host a storytelling evening: have each person on your team prepare a story, whether fact or fiction. The genre can be anything, from comedy to fantasy, thriller or even horror. Set up a voting system based on how moved each person is, with a prize for the winner.
Get Support, and Embrace the Impact
Expect the worldwide recession that’s coming your way, and prepare for its impact. If you run or work for a small business, this can be an uncertain time, so take advantage of the government resources that have been made available specifically for businesses like yours.
On an individual level, you may be struggling to make ends meet too. At times like these, every penny counts, so take advantage of any discounts and offers you can get. At Staff Treats, we work with several brands to offer you great discounts that could help you get through. For example, you can use the Staff Treats portal to get 9% off Deliveroo’s contact-free food delivery; 8% off at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, M&S and Waitrose e-vouchers for home supply and delivery; and great offers with Gousto and HelloFresh to help you spice up your home cooking.
Communicate With Your Customers
Keep your customers in the loop about the efforts you are making to continue business as usual. Everyone is more understanding given the times but going silent isn’t going to help. Send out an email with the necessary contact channels. Set priorities about how you are going to tackle customer queries for example many airlines are sending out newsletters saying they are dealing with flights in the 72-hour range first.
Be the Leader that you are Appointed to Be
As a manager of a company or a team, embrace the change and prioritise the health of your employees and all of humanity.
In a time like this, a team needs a supportive leader. Step up. Create a positive team culture. Provide support through embracing the right tools to allow your team to work in isolation. Be respectful of people’s different approaches to social distancing. Be understanding of parents at home who are having to work and look after the children. Allow flexibility for your staff to manage the crisis as needed. Don’t stop communication and encourage positive mental health practises.