So, officially Lombardia and other 14 Italian provinces are closed or better with controlled access until 3 April. But the common sentiment is that our lives will be suspended for more months. Many companies here are introducing smart working at a high rate to contain the risk of spreading the Coronavirus. However, they are woefully unprepared to manage remote teams and sustain our productivity rates. Other than the national health threat due to the shortage of ICU beds, many entrepreneurs and consultants (including me) are starting to worry about the effects on the global economy. Working at the time of Coronavirus (COVID-19) is not for the faint of heart.

I have some classroom training courses that have been canceled. I have still to pay for my expenses, so it’s time for plans B, C, D, and all the alphabet. From strategist to hustler! I’m sharing with you my top tips to (hopefully) survive this crisis and come out of it stronger than before.

My top tips for working in emergency

Constantly update the status report

There’s a barrage of news from governments, media and in person. Understanding what is important or not is crucial if we want to withstand the crisis. We should not overlook nor overreact to situations, but keep a moderate attitude. If you can, gather a small team to help assess the situation to make an informed decision or come up with alternative solutions.

Anticipate needs

Open your communication channels to collect feedback from customers, employees, and suppliers. Will you be able to deliver their order? Do you need to re-route your consignment? What policies apply to remote workers?

Reinvent your business model

Take this forced holiday period to assess how you do things, your organization chart, your resources, your customers. We are usually caught in the whirlwind of everyday operations, and we don’t have time to think strategically about our business. You need to boost yourself to be ready when the emergency is finished. Otherwise, your competition will obliterate you if you’re weak.

Manage your team and customers remotely

Reflect on what part of your processes you can transfer digitally. Cloud archives, smartphones, collaborative and project management tools can help with maintaining a high level of productivity, even when it’s the first time you work smart. Schedule recurring meetings on your calendar to check with your collaborators, once in the morning and one at the end of the day: keep them short, stick to the agenda and try to limit the number of participants. Be transparent with your team and list all the activities by priority.

In a time of emergency, you may have to rearrange by urgency and add some medium-term plans. If you’re a manufacturer or a restaurateur it will not be easy, but you can still apply some safety procedures like (video) calling your customers, sending them pictures of your work by messaging apps or deliver their food order. At the same time upgrade the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) of your employees and increase the frequency of sanitation routines.

Offer new services

Don’t be paralyzed by fear or obsess to sell what you have now but think forward. Whether you offer a product or a service, try to shift your solutions to something that can be enjoyed remotely. I wrote above about home delivery or video calling, but it could also be remote technical assistance for machinery or an AI-based service on your website. You may also look for a new market niche. New needs may emerge and your product could be suitable for them.

Take time to reconnect with friends and family

The restrictions enforced by the government limit also the visit in person with friends and family, especially from/to red and orange zones. However, Northern Italy has a great population emigrated from the South so there’s a greater need to check with our loved ones about their health and safety. Conflictual information on media and the physical distance from our families of origin increase the spreading of fear and anxiety to the whole society. The new moderate pace allows us to have more free time: don’t rely only on messages and don’t hurry when you’re on the phone. If you’re afraid, talk openly about it and try to reassure your family of what’s really happening around you.

Eat mindfully and rest

The stress of the last weeks can affect our health and weaken our immune system. You can manage it with regular physical activity and practicing relaxation techniques. Swap your usual food and drink with healthier choices. Eat more fruit and vegetables and cut sugar and salt. Improve your sleep hygiene.

If you want to chat with me and share tips on how to survive COVID-19 send me an email at selva@execstarpro.com

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