A Checklist for Adapting to a COVID World

Batten down the hatches, tick these off, and ride out the storm

By: Worksmith

As each day passes, we have become accustomed to preparing for the unknown. Unknown restrictions, unknown complaints, unknown menus and services. With so much uncertainty., it's critical to focus and harbour energy into what we do know. Using tools and knowledge already available will help us prepare for what's ahead. So what should be on your checklist?

Staffing

  • Communication with staff is key. Whether it's a reduction in hours, changing roles and responsibilities, or closures - honesty is key. communicate with your staff the way you would wish for your government to communicate with you, be thorough but clear-cut on what is expected and what is fair. If they have questions about the financial workings of a business, now is the time to explain you P&L model - help them understand.

  • Check-in with them through an internal communication system like WhatsApp on a regular (without being overbearing) basis.

  • If the time comes, have a plan in place for letting staff go. Know each team member's entitlements, what they are owed and so on. Are they eligible for JobKeeper payments? Are they eligible for, and do they know the process for JobSeeker payments? Can you help them outside of your business?

  • Share your sources of information with your team. Whether its an accountant's email address, a website, a trusted news source.

  • Be firm when it comes to your team's health. If they are feeling unwell, they cannot come to work. That's what that means.

Pivot

  • If you've moved to take-away, ramp up your menu options with off-menu sites, offer a wine pairing, and sing your options of no-contact collection (curbside pick-up and hygienic packaging). If you're unsure if fresh food will sell, pickle it or freeze it and market it as a take-home meal instead. Now is an excellent time for waste-free cooking.

  • As people grow more wary of hygiene, us your social platform to highlight to your audience how you are cleaning your kitchens, bars, and how your team is keeping clean.

  • Double down on staff training. For junior staff, now is the time to upskill whether its on the pans or tastings from a glass. If you're not winning, you're learning.

  • Keep your suppliers on side (and in business) by offering boxes of fresh produce for your customers. Smith and Daughters, Marion, and even St Ali have switched up their models to support suppliers and give people everything they need from hand sanitiser to fresh bread.


Finances

  • Know your P&L inside out. Hope for the best but plan for the absolute worst, and you'll be in a good place to make reasonable financial decisions.

  • Know what bills your can expect, and what might surprise you. Talk to your accountant about possible payment plans and see if relief has been put in place by the Australian Taxation Office.

  • If you haven't already, talk to your Landlord about the next few months and how you can ride it out together. This is ideally a conversation to be had through your agent or lawyer. Treat them like you would treat your staff, an offer full disclosure (within reason) on your current status as a business.

Finally, stay positive. Talk to someone. Go for a walk. It may be 15 minutes of your day that feels essential to be working, but it is 15 minutes that will help you keep afloat.