Social distancing during COVID-19

With the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus, the world is slowly grinding to a halt. The effect of this pandemic is visible in big and small countries alike.

Followed by years of rapid economic growth, the talk of recession is now unavoidable. The question of a shrinking economy is not a question of “if,” but “how much”. All indicators point to a situation potentially worse than that of the financial meltdown of 2008.

A host of countries and economies are reacting differently to the impact of the novel coronavirus. While some economies have shut themselves down completely (India), some have decided to carry on as much as possible (USA, UK), while others are beginning on the path to recovery (China). The faster the spread of COVID-19 is contained, the faster economies can get back to normal.

So, are there things your business can do to mitigate the economic effects triggered by this pandemic? Here are a few tips that might help weather these difficult times.

1. Lower overhead and marketing costs

With an economic depression in place, it’s time to reduce or even stop spending as much as possible. The first place to look would be overhead expenses, which usually include advertising, interest, rent, repairs, office supplies, taxes, telephone bills, travel expenditures, and utilities. Some reductions might naturally appear—for example, if you’re working from home, your office electric bill will be lower—while others will require some sacrifice. You’ll need to carefully examine how necessary they are and if you can live without them. 

Another place to look to make cuts are your marketing costs. We could cancel the big and expensive means of external advertisements. This could include billboards, commercials or even newspaper ads. Unless we have numbers suggesting otherwise, even online advertisements could be stopped and rely completely on email marketing. This happens to give high returns on low investment.

To keep up with the current trend, you could switch your focus to blogs or videos as people are spending more time at home and prefer to have access to the latest content. 

Big brands have stopped even stopped affiliate marketing in an attempt to save a few bucks. To read more, check this link.

Many companies are experimenting with this to save on costly sanctions, avail government incentives, use limited workspace. To learn about the different options that are available today and choose one that suits you and your organization best, read this blog.

2. Help your employees survive

The struggle is real and helping your employees in this time of crisis is essential. If possible, avoid asking your employees to go on forced leave or terminating them on short notice. Employees will have to pay mortgages and other personal debts they have to manage.

Ensure that you pay your employees at least their basic salary on time. Many organizations have exempted employees from paying internal loans for the next few months until things settle down. Almost one fourth of the India’s 69 million MSME’s will have to shut down if the lockdown extends beyond 4-6 weeks.

3. Keep your clients informed

Clients are our biggest supporters. We need to have an open communication with them. It is essential that they know we are available to support them.

Keep an open communication channel and be quick to respond to their questions. Customers will most probably be reaching out to you in the most difficult of situations right now.

This is also the time to reach out and offer your help and support to customers. Offer any small help that your company can afford to make. It would mean a lot to them and a definite way to establish a good relationship.

To know how Zoho is helping customers with small businesses, read this blog.

4. Establishing the “new normal” (Remote working) 

For companies who foresaw the future, invested and started working on remote platforms. This helps most essentially in the times of a pandemic definitely. Otherwise also going remote is a new norm of the generation.

Employees would love the freedom to work from anywhere. For some this liberty increases their productivity and helps them to achieve more.

Your company could still make the switch if you are ready for a change. Zoho has offered the free usage of their product called Zoho Workerly to any business who wants to try it.

5. Invest energy in long term marketing goals (SEO, Content, Videos) 

While having an exponential financial growth may appear distant during this lockdown period. We could always work on ways to improve how we appear in search engines. We should optimize the existing content available on our website so that they are more SEO compliant.

This is the time when we have ample time to produce creative content. People are online on a lookout for more and more content. This is when we have to brainstorm ideas and produce new and engaging content for our audience.

Marketers could utilize this time to learn digital courses online. Neil Patel has a substantial amount of relevant data to help non-techies understand the nuances of marketing. Follow his blog for more information on SEO.

6. Mental and physical well-being

a. You and your family 

Traveling long distances to the office is one major reason for a lack of workout. Use this opportunity of staying at home to restart the habit of exercising regularly. Staying physically healthy is the first step to overall well-being. Taking up online family challenges will help keep you and your family fit.

It must have been a while since you spent quality time with your family. Take this as an opportunity to spend time and help around your house. It’s time to share the work-load at home.

b. Reach out to friends and family (phone)

Talking to friends and family has become a rare commodity these days. Take time to call all those lost buddies and rebuild your relationships. This is the time to show the people whom you care about some compassion. Video calls have become a free affair so why not use it to meet and greet with your dear ones.

c. Your employees

Employees are an extension of your family. Keep updating them and reassure them when times are troubled. Hearing news about the organization from the employer firsthand will ease tension for employees. 
As an organization, you could also push your employees to do better. Ask them to take up online courses to enhance their existing skills. A beautiful course about the ‘Science of well-being‘ is a must.

At the end of COVID-19, we would have lost a lot of lives. The ultimate aim of social distancing and lockdown has been to minimize the casualties. The plan is to stay alive first and then save our livelihood, if possible. Nothing beyond the well being of yourself and your family is important. Stay Home! Stay Safe!

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