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Covid19 update: 10 things you can do instead of your regular role

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I have memberships at my stores. I guess many women do. You pop in to buy a cute top, and they’ll always ask at the counter if you’re a member. If not, do you want to be? Here are your new shoes. Want a membership with that?

So I get the email newsletters, the new season designs, sales items, all the spam emails that stay in your inbox, usually unopened, or just deleted.

But I got one recently from a women’s clothing company, advertising their hand sanitiser and air fryers. Air fryers! From a women’s clothing store.

I could order hand sanitiser from them, but only online. Not in store. They can avoid the horrible scenes that have come out about our shoppers, but also provide an essential item that can help some of our more vulnerable people.

I then saw someone on my LinkedIn feed – a restaurant now providing fresh food as well as prepared meals. As they noticed a downturn in bookings and the variety of fresh food they have access to in the kitchens, they thought of a way of making money instead of their usual method. Universities are closing for a week or two to set up external learning. If they did not provide video classes and online courses/external options for studying previously, they will now. KFC closed in-store dining and only offers drive-through service, to stop a lot of human contacts, and ensure social distancing complies within their stores. An Adelaide based gin company is using their alcohol in a novel way – producing hand sanitiser themselves as they realised they had access to pure alcohol.

Businesses are seriously assessing what they can provide, learn how to implement it, and offer new ideas all within a week or two of learning their sales and staff are being impacted.

It got me thinking. Everyone should look at what else they can do to diversify during this time. Too many articles are coming out informing us of hospitality and tourism businesses being impacted by the virus spread. I don’t think there will be a business of any kind that is not affected by this pandemic. Either you will have:

  • your kids sent home because the school shut down
  • business and income stop coming in
  • family members you regularly visit might now be too vulnerable to see you (but you still have to get supplies for them because they can’t fight with other shoppers as well as you)
  • to change the way you get to work if it’s too risky to catch public transport
  • the cafe’s shut down due to lack of business (where will we get our caffeine from!?!)

Salespeople at this time are a redundant feature. BUT, can they be repurposed? Do they have other skills you haven’t tapped into before? I went in and asked my GM to redeploy me. She gave me advice on what to focus on when sales become an essential role later. It might be six months later. But I have the supreme luxury of a regular wage. I don’t get paid commission, no matter how much business I bring in. It’s just my job. So I will have a salary now and not have to worry about how I support my family, like so many others.

I started thinking about other options. Look! I’m writing an article right now. It wasn’t planned. I just thought, “hmm, my school keeps sending me updates about my son”… perhaps I can do the same thing? Voile! Necessity is the mother of invention.

If the hecticness of work has slowed down, don’t get bored. Stop. Think. Look at your business/work/job from a completely different angle. Break it down. Compare it to others in your field. Contact your supervisors and ask if you can be repurposed. Maybe there is an operations team that needs support during this time?

  • Could you use this time to learn about backlinks and what they can do to help advertise your company?
  • Maybe you could look at hiring more online staff?
  • Do you need an in-house SEO team?
  • Contact your supervisors and ask if you can be repurposed.
  • Maybe there is an operations team that needs support during this time?
  • Ask your staff if there is anything they need to help function at this time. Is there something they need?
  • Working hours, you can supply by asking other team members to assist?
  • Can you redesign your business to provide the services online? Via Skype or vlogs?
  • Could you use this time to update your policies? Write new ones? Do you have a pandemic response plan now?
  • Is there something you can do to support local businesses already impacted by bushfires? Or workers that are helping our vulnerable people right now?

If it’s to be business as usual in Australia, despite a third of school students being at home, stores closing doors daily due to affected sales or safety of their staff, the rest of us need something to do. Or perhaps you have already been sent home. I always need something to do. I can’t do boredom. So just think about your role. Spend a day on it if you want. Right now, you could have all the time in the world!