This article is part of a series from Blue Summit Supplies dedicated to getting you the information and resources your office needs surrounding COVID-19. It is critical that offices across our nation take swift action to protect their workers and prevent the spread of illness. The decisions we make have a direct impact on the health of those around us. Though it will be a challenge, changing our behaviors could save the lives of our friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
On March 11, 2020, the Word Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a global pandemic.
Since then, things have gotten serious, with travel bans, school closures, and disruptions for all professionals. The expression ‘business as usual’ no longer applies to most businesses, since, well none of this is usual.
So what does this mean for us – and for you?
At three years old, we’re still a small business, and we run a lean operation. We only have 15 employees and luckily, most of our work can be conducted online. But even with our modern work habits, we've been taking extra precautions to ensure everyone stays safe and healthy in this uncertain time.
Here's how we're managing.
By now, everyone’s heard the term ‘social distancing’; we even wrote a piece on how to effectively social distance at work. And we decided to take our own advice by implementing this preventative strategy in our own office.
Firstly, our CEO Owen made sure everyone was equipped to work comfortably from the safety of their own home. And, when employees do decide to come into the office, we maintain the suggested six-foot distance from one another.
We’re also all adhering to the ‘no gatherings of over ten people’ rule, which unfortunately meant canceling a few company functions including a cookout at our Owen’s house, but we look forward to all getting back together when it’s healthy and safe to do so!
There are few things better than receiving an unexpected gift, especially when that gift is something that could keep your lungs nice n’ healthy. Imagine our delight when Katie, our Product Manager, showed up to work during the first week of the COVID-19 outbreak with personal-sized hand sanitizers for everyone in the office!
Now our high fives will be aloe-fresh and bacteria-free (when we’re back to giving high fives).
When the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, Owen made the decision to give all employees the option to work from home. Almost all of us have taken him up on this, some out of necessity due to kids at home, others to adhere to the CDC’s social distancing suggestion.
Of course, physical distance between us means we’ve had to come up with new ways to stay connected…
And one of those ways is to abuse modern technology and its video calling capability.
As a company, we primarily use the video call client Zoom to host meetings, but there are plenty of other ways to stay in touch with one another, even with social distancing going on.
My favorite? FaceTiming my boss Shannon several times a day to ask how her cat is doing, and wave at her husband as he walks by in the background.
Just like the rest of small businesses around the globe, we're feeling the effects of the economic uncertainty. So, Owen has decided to cut costs wherever possible, and turn our lean operation into an even leaner operation. As Owen puts it, "we'll be fine to weather this storm, but cutting costs gives us even more runway to wait this thing out."
If you're running a small business of your own, now is a great opportunity to do an audit of your spending and see where you can cut back. It's also an excellent time to get creative as far as stretching your dollars - after all, "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." - Albert Einstein
It's easy to feel adrift and isolated when you're self-isolating, but we're making efforts to stay connected and preserve our sense of workplace community. One way we do this is by sending each other messages via Slack, the professional chat client we use.
You can also reach out via email, text if you're comfortable, or just pick up the phone and call! Like I mentioned before, I'm a big fan of FaceTime. Seriously. FaceTime me. I'm desperate for human interaction.
If the first thing you did after opening this article was to quickly scan through for news of Larry, we get it. You'll be pleased and relieved to hear that she is getting just as much adoration as always, except it's currently coming from her mom, Tiffany, and her dad, Owen. But rest assured, when this passes and we're all back in the office, our favorite little Frenchie coworker will be smothered with kisses and cuddles!
From all of us at Blue Summit Supplies, we hope that you take care of yourselves and those around you now and in the weeks to come. Remember that we are in this together as a global community. If your neighbor (or coworker) gets sick, there’s more of a chance you will get sick. Simple, yet critical precautions, such as social distancing, washing your hands thoroughly, not panic buying, and staying home if you feel sick will help ensure you and those around you remain healthy.
How are you getting through the COVID-19 pandemic? What measures is your workplace taking? We would love to hear! Leave a comment below or send us an email - Larry loves to hear from you. And, to stay connected, reach out to us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.
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