Gary Escott, MD of SiteZone Safety shares his thoughts on how planning and team preparation will help small businesses weather the storm of an uncertain economic climate.

For all businesses, the pandemic has been destabilising and concerning at the very least. We’ve had to adjust how we work and conduct our home lives, and neither have been comfortable transitions. However, in order for our businesses to prevail, I think we should

try and be as prepared as we can and foresee every scenario in order to mitigate negative impacts. It might not be easy, but we must plan ahead.

ANTICIPATE At SiteZone Safety we continue to serve key sectors

that have had to remain operational during the pandemic. While all of this has been positive for our business, looking to the future, I must anticipate, along with my team, what may be coming to affect us. Adaptation is absolutely vital if we want to keep going, based on communication, data and observation of trends. Doing things the old way, or the same way, may not be appropriate. Many a company has succumbed to an inability to be flexible and adapt according to market demands at the time.

FOSTERING A TEAM THAT CAN ADAPT In this kind of situation your team’s agility and flexibility

might make the difference between surviving or folding. We’ve already had to learn to do things differently ̶ like work from home, move into the digital realm, (for some, kicking and screaming), and of course there’s the isolation and separation making remote management probably one of the biggest challenges of all. It’s a real test of leadership skills.

Training and upskilling are going to be such important elements in the future of many businesses. Companies may also need to consider expanding their service delivery, in which case the team has to be up to speed on any new procedures and products, finding new clients, building new relationships; a lot of your operations might be all new.

Being digital ready is absolutely paramount and there’s just no denying it anymore. Running our businesses over the internet has taken on a whole new meaning because our connectivity as functioning teams, being

able to deliver for our clients wholly depends on it right now. It also means finding new and effective ways of maintaining professional relationships, fresh methods of communicating with stakeholders, and cultivating different behaviours in the workplace. We cannot currently rely on the comfort of face-to-face meetings. Not all team members are adept communicators without the dynamics of a personal meeting, and this too has to be learned.


DON’T BECOME BLASÉ ABOUT COVID AT WORK Finally, the most obvious point to make on team

readiness and that is to be COVID-secure wherever and whenever you convene. For those of us who have managed to go back into the office it has demanded a change in behaviour which must be maintained.

Being respectful of each other by washing your hands, regularly cleaning surfaces and maintaining a safe distance from one another requires commitment. Being back on familiar ground, it might be too tempting just to try and be how it was before ̶ that isn’t tenable at present. As employers we’re responsible for our teams and workspaces and presently that responsibility is very high. Any breaches could be disastrous for the health and safety of our people.

In conclusion, I would say that change is not always desired but sometimes it is absolutely necessary and can lead to improved and safer and more secure working practices in the long term. Employers, employees, and clients must collaborate at this time to manage the challenges before us.

I do believe that together, using some creativity and definitely a lot of common sense, we can achieve more than we thought despite the adversity that we face. Now, health and safety is everyone’s business so we’ve got to work extra hard for it to prevail because the alternative is unthinkable.


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