Another COVID-19 Report? We promise you – this one is helpful! While we can’t help you get back to normal (because normal doesn’t exist anymore), this report will show you what organizations around the world are doing to get by and give you tools to help you.
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About This Report
The COVID-19 outbreak and the unprecedented response by governments around the world are having a profound impact on life and business. How are organizations responding and what does a post-pandemic world look like?
This report includes insights from 180 respondents hailing from nearly 30 countries. Participants cover a broad spectrum of industries, including government, healthcare, golf, airport operations, agriculture, and manufacturing.
Fielded in April 2020, this survey aims to answer the following questions:
How is COVID-19 impacting businesses around the world?
What are the best practices for mitigating these new risks?
How long are businesses prepared to last?
While one would expect a global health crisis like COVID-19 to impact the health and overall wellness of people, the operational and financial blow was unexpected for many. If your business as usual hasn’t been usual, you’re not alone. 66.7% of respondents indicated that the COVID-19 has been “very impactful” to their business operations.
The COVID-19 outbreak has definitely forced businesses around the world to make tough decisions. What are people doing? Our survey found that the three biggest response actions were allowing employees to work remotely (72.2%), providing extra sanitation products (68.6%), and minimizing operational expenses (47.2%).
If this global health crisis wasn’t tough enough on everyone’s mental state, it has also forced organizations to make extremely difficult operational decisions.
How do you help your employees get through this time? Especially when there are furloughs, layoffs, and salary disruptions? The most common best practices amongst employers are communicating more regularly (71.5%) and adopting new health and safety procedures (69.4%).
Resources for Coping
At the end of the day, your employees are your greatest asset. It is encouraging to see so many organizations around the world focusing on improving their communication channels and prioritizing employee health.
We recommend reminding your employees about existing or new health and wellness initiatives your organization might make available to them to help them through these tough times. This includes mental health as well. 35.4% of respondents said they would offer mental health resources to employees. Here are some resources to get you started:
Practicing mindfulness can be a big help during this stressful time. The UCSD Center for Mindfulness offers free audio guide downloads and COVID-19 specific resources.
Learn some tips from Canada’s Workplace Strategies for Mental Health’s “Managing Mental Health Matters” online course. It’s free and full of assessments and videos to help you learn how to manage emotions, accommodation, performance, conflict, and returning to work.
Communicating and prioritizing health can be difficult when your employees are remote. However, this is the challenge that a majority of organizations are dealing with.
A common worry amongst employers regarding remote work is productivity. Even though we are in the midst of an extremely disruptive pandemic, 53.5% of all respondents indicated their employees are just as productive or even more productive at home than they are in the office.
Tips for Working from Home
If you’re working from home for the first time, here are some tips to help you stay productive and stay healthy:
Create a space just for work
Find a quiet space with minimal distractions (away from your bed, TV, family, etc.) to help you focus and stay on task. If you have kids or other responsibilities at home, that’s OK. Your workspace will look different from your coworkers. Here are some tips for working from home with kids.
Stick to a schedule
Start and end work at your normal times and don’t forget to take a full lunch! HubSpot has a great blog on how to structure your day working from home.
Don’t be afraid to use the time you normally spend at the water cooler to move laundry, prep dinner, or do some exercise. You still need little breaks to do your best work! This great list of break ideas is meant for breaks at the office, but they are easily transferable to a home environment. Work out, grab a cup of coffee or tea, step outside and call a friend or family member.
Keep in touch
Who says you can’t collaborate from home? Use Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts Meet, or whatever your organization’s preferred instant communication channel is to work together with teammates. Need to collaborate on a project? Get on a video call – it works great.
Think outside the box
Are you in sales or another face-to-face function? Think outside of the box to make the most of your time. Maybe it’s time to build a new prospect list or clean out your inbox. It could also be a great time to team build. Check out these virtual team building tips.
Most respondents felt somewhat (40.3%) or well prepared (34.1%) going into this public health crisis. Chances are, these are the businesses that don’t have the biggest disruptions, or that have extensive business continuity operations.
Business Continuity Tips
On the other hand, nearly a fifth of all respondents felt their organizations were completely unprepared. Preparedness for any type of emergency is key in mitigating risks and feeling the least amount of negative impacts. If you feel as though you fit in the “somewhat prepared” or “unprepared” groups, maybe it’s time your organization build out detailed emergency plans. Here are some resources that might help you plan for future emergencies and handle business continuity:
Learn how to conduct a Business Impact Analysis to identify time-sensitive or critical business functions and processes and the resources to support them from the U.S. government
A step-by-step business continuity planning guide from CIO.com
Strengths & Weaknesses
Allowing employees to work remotely isn’t the only change organizations are dealing with. There ave been large business model disruptions as a result of COVID-19. Along with remote working, supply and demand issues and operational agility have emerged as the top areas of preparedness amongst respondents.
On the bright side, businesses are feeling generally more prepared in the areas of communication and security.
When Will This End?!
At this point, no one really know hows long this crisis will last and if there we be a resurgence of the virus at a later point. When asked about how long they expect this crisis to last for their organization, just over half of respondents believe it will take 3-6 months – putting us somewhere between July and October 2020.
Whether it takes three months or 12, the post-pandemic world will look different than the pre-pandemic one for most businesses. The biggest worry amongst respondents is financial instability. Nearly half indicated this was a real post-pandemic concern. This can be attributed to the “new way of working” that emerges from all of this, which could decrease demand for certain products and services.
At the end of the day, staff morale is another critical concern. This pandemic presents physical danger to your employees and those they care about, but it also inflicts the mental dangers of stress, anxiety, and depression. Focusing on staff morale and wellness will have to be a focus for most organizations moving out of this pandemic.
Operational Changes Going Forward
This “new normal” is going to require some business model changes. Nearly half of all respondents are changing their business models to invest in the resilience of their organization and remote working, proving that the strength of their organization and employees are of upmost importance.
Our business continuity podcast, “The Continuity Forecast,” has a few good episodes on organizational resilience. An important part of organizational resilience is mental resilience. The American Psychological Association has a great article on building personal resilience.
Who Should You Trust?
In this stressful time, there are plenty of places for leaders to seek counsel and advice to make tactical and strategic decisions for their organizations.
An overwhelming amount of respondents are tuning into their government briefings daily or weekly to help make those decisions. Other trustworthy sources organizations are using to make important decisions include company advisors and watching what industry peers are doing.
While the government is really the only entity that can tell you how to run your business, remember that safety comes first. We applaud the thousands of organizations around the world that are prioritizing safety while juggling the welfare of their employees and the continuity of their operations.
Additional Resources From Your Friends at Earth Networks
During this time, it’s important you don’t forget about yourself. Follow the health and safety guidelines established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), and adhere to the executive orders and rules established by your government. If you can, take some time to prepare for future emergencies. Thank you to everyone who participated in our survey. We hope this report lets you know you’re not alone!
If there is any way we here at Earth Networks can help during this stressful time, please let us know. Here are some FREE resources we are giving away that we think might help you depending on your position:
- Weather 101 Resources to help you learn about different weather events
- Free Access to our Weather App, Sferic Connect, to help you keep an eye on weather conditions and test safety procedures
- 30-day subscription to our Daily Weather Outlook forecast emails from our team of expert meteorologists