Never waste a good crisis. We may be in various forms of lock down. Our normal work may be stopped or restricted in some way. But with a positive attitude we can often find some advantages in our predicament. The absence of the normal hustle and bustle can give us a chance to think, review how we do things or even what it is we do, plan for the future, consider whether we need to adapt how we operate going forward, find opportunities in the current upheaval, acquire or upgrade a particular skill or knowledge, take a break if needed and concentrate on relationships, catch up on that reading we meant to do, get our quality or health and safety manuals and business procedures written up properly, see how we can collaborate with other local businesses to our mutual benefit, review our life plan and priorities. The list is endless.
There are things we can control or influence and things we can’t. We should be smart enough to accept those we can’t and work on those we can. The spread of Covid-19 is undoubtedly having very serious negative affects on very many people, but all around us there are examples of people adapting to the situation and taking the initiative to control the things they can.
Some businesses like restaurants and cafes are staying open by serving their customers with take away service, some with a click and collect version. Some are advertising that they will reopen with single use menues that will be sent for recycling after a single customer has used them. This goes against the the idea of getting rid of single use items from a green perspective, but it is a response to the current situation. There is a general disapproval of using mobile phones in reastaurants for conversation purposes but perhaps they could be allowed to access an online version of the menue.
Some fashion shops are using video conferencing apps to let customers do a virtual “walk through” of the shop to check out that dress they might buy for example. Auctioneers are using virtual house tours online to allow prospective buyers view properties for sale.
Traditional venues may be closed to entertainers but many are now putting sessions on Facebook or other social media platforms and adding a denote button to receive some compensation. Others are taking the opportunity to develop new material. While some adapt the manner in which they provide their product or service others adapt the product or develop new ones. WFH Furniture have come up with their Porto Desks to cater for the sudden boom in home working. It comes flat-packed in just two parts that fold out and fit together and can be assembled in under a minute with no tools required. When no longer needed, they fold away again.
There’s no reason why tradesmen can’t in many cases offer quotes from a distance if the potential clients use the likes of whatsapp or similar to show a video of the site to be worked on and explain what work they want to get done. Having tradesmen drive thirty miles to look at something only to give a quote for a small job does not really make sense if it can be done remotely, saving travel time and expense. Even if restricted from carrying out the actual work for now, trades people could be looking at their advertising and promotion, and taking orders, or looking at ways to use easily accessible technology to make their business more efficient or cost effective.
Your local man with a van might be delighted to do home deliveries for local businesses within a defined area. A business that already has a delivery service might expand their website and delivery capabilities to include other neighbouring businesses.
The guys putting up the perspex shields at shop counters or the markings on shop floors must have a booming trade that’s likely to last a while as more businesses open up again when restrictions relax. Sales of laptops and home office equipment is another area of opportunity.
Some shops have implemented a one way flow through the premises letting customers in one door and out a different one to better facilitate social distancing. They have hand sanitisers and disposable gloves at the entrance and only allow so many customers in at a time. Others have designated certain days of the week or times of the day for different categories of customer.
Some garment manufacturers have converted some of their capacity to making protective gowns or face masks for which there is a hugh demand. Some breweries and distilleries have converted part of their capacity to manufacture hand sanitisers.
Private tutors like the schools are having varying degrees of success with tutoring online. Galway Maths and Physics Grinds are having success with their online resource packs for Leaving Cert students where they have spent a lot of time and effort bringing resources to one online location so students don’t have to waste a time searching themselves. They can just concentrate on learning the material already gathered into one online pack that can be accessed at anytime from anywhere with an internet connection. And all for less than half the cost of a single grind. Students can also get grinds without leaving home via video conferencing technology like google hangouts or whatsapp.
Others may have their work completely stalled for now. But that gives them the opportunity to get around to all the things they keep putting on the long finger when they are busy with their normal day to day work. Is their documentation that needs to be brought up to date. Are their contacts they meant to talk to about collaborating for mutual benefit. Call them now and start the conversation.
I have used some of my down time over the last few months to write some poetry that can be purchased from https://www.facebook.com/GalwayMathsGrinds/app/637017296382593/.
Researchers from the Weizmann Institute in Israel and the London School of Economics have a suggestion: Start off with a four-day in-office work week, followed by 10 days off. Why? It typically takes three days for someone infected with COVID-19 to become infectious to others. So, if someone becomes sick during their in-office period, it’s likely they will be off during the moments they are contagious. Such a method could help reduce the number of new infections, paving a path to a fuller return to working life.
These are just a few examples of how we can be proactive and make the best of the situation we find ourselves in. There are countless other possibilities, limited only by our imaginations.