The last two decades have seen several global epidemics, Covid-19 is suspected to be 20x more deadly and 5x more contagious. With a visible sense of fear and panic gripping all sectors of the economy, businesses are facing a slowdown. Vertiginous drop in business activity across the globe and cascading economic effects and cancelled meetings is impacting sales and business development activities. The travel industry alone is expected to lose 820 billion dollars.
While most multinationals immediately have asked their employees to work remotely in an effort to slow down the spread of coronavirus, startups, on the other hand, have experienced sharp drops since the virus has reached India.
Mostly based in single locations, lack of infrastructure to support remote working and disturbed team coordination and project management, it is getting tougher for them to adapt the work-from-home model. Expecting slowing growth and delays or cancellations in sales has led these startups to consider and adopt a new framework for cash management and business growth.
In these days of a Pandemic, where startups have seen a drop from 50% to 5% in a matter of two weeks, it is also interesting to see that organic traffic of search engines and websites has gone down. With no search results, processes are getting affected that in turn affected the conversion rates and users. But at the same time, the fear of virus has also led them to adopt a more diligent approach for personal and overall hygiene.
Transitioning into a safer and hygiene workforce
Humans naturally resist change. Especially in offices with major in-house culture, social distancing” as a remedy for flattening the curve of contagion seems impossible. But it has to be done. Minimizing external contact with clients and embracing a strong communication through video calls is an important step forward. Make it a point to organize con-calls over applications like;
- Google Hangouts
- Google Duos
- Whatsapp Calls
- Facebook Calls
Studies show that an average person touches his or her face 2000 or 3000 times a day, which makes it 2 or 3 times every waking minute. In between, we touch surfaces like doorknobs and lift buttons which are one of the major sources of transmission.
Employees need to put in the concrete effort to systematically:
- Wash their hands for twenty seconds multiple times a day
And making it a habit to:
- Use anti-bacterial sprays on often touched surfaces
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizers
While startups who cannot afford work from home can take imperative steps like providing:
- Sterilizing water bottles
- Serving immunity building drinks like honey lemon with ginger
- Providing amenities like ready-made food or inductions to do it themselves
Employees, on the other hand, can avoid major external touchpoints by:
- Take multivitamins and Vitamin- C supplements
- Drink water regularly
- Avoiding eating out or stick to a specified restaurant if necessary
- Avoid physical contact with delivery executives and even coworkers for that matter
Transparency & Communication
Startups and Small and Medium Businesses (SMB) might find the going tough as these smaller customers themselves face the risk of going out of business or cut down on their spending completely. And then there are also classes of startups whose solutions fall under discretionary budgets who will need to reinvent themselves if they want to avoid the prospect of getting passed over.
As a part of the strategic plan for dealing with the virus and these circumstances, single location startups need to acknowledge the pandemic and assure the employees that all possible measures are being taken to manage the situation in a systematic manner. Assign a support team that makes sure:
- All possible surfaces and offices are disinfected at least twice a day
- Avoid meetings with clients
Act in the best interest of the company and make sure to minimize internal meetings and rely on tools like Slack or Microsoft Team to stay connected and monitor.
Stay updated through government and public health authority channels. In these uncertain circumstances, any information and update from a valid source is important. Apart from precautions taken by companies, employees as individuals need to take the call of maintaining their immunity as the situation around the outbreak continues to evolve.