Edition 307 – Doing Laps

Well, it’s finally caught up with me…COVID that is. Right on the New Year, our eldest son Callum returned from holidays and went down with the beast. A week of the entire household self isolating worked brilliantly, until the Saturday afternoon prior to returning from annual leave when, what I felt was hay-fever from earlier in the day, just wouldn’t shift. A rapid antigen test declared a positive result and that was it for me for another week – imprisoned inside my bedroom.

Once the worst of the first few days were over, I found myself, at one stage, walking laps of my bedroom. As my energy slowly returned, I felt the need to do something physical, irrespective of how minor it was. During one lap, I caught myself thinking “this must be what it feels like to be a dog in the pound”.

Irrespective of vaccination rates, booster shots, social distancing and QR code check-ins, almost every business will be impacted by this virus. My guess is that so very few are prepared for not only how to handle an outbreak in a work environment, but also how to on-board those individuals who have been inflicted with the virus, once they are safe to return to work.

With that in mind, here’s some things to consider given the extent of outbreaks in New South Wales & Victoria right now.

  1. Re-assess your lockdown stance re: a Team A and a Team B. When my body was able to commence working again whilst still in isolation, Trish and I worked split shifts – me AM and her PM, so that we both weren’t in the same part of the house that contains our offices, at the same time.
  2. Give yourself a couple of days to really put it behind you. Your sense of responsibility (or dare I say, guilt), may want you to get up and get going. However, I’m certain that listening to my body and merely going with it when it was tired, helped my recovery.
  3. War-game how you’re going to handle the disruption in the event you lose a number of staff, no matter how key they are. For some businesses, that might mean calling in labour hire at short notice. For others, it might be ongoing and regular contact with the client to put a project on temporary hold whilst infected (or impacted) employees are forced into isolation.
  4. Keep in touch with your infected (or impacted) employees. You don’t need to know the ins-and-outs of what they’re going through, but a little bit of compassion goes a long way. Plus, you’ll gain a greater understanding of how the return to work is likely to be, in terms of timing and energy levels.
  5. Expect delays from those in your business chain. Last year’s supply chain frustrations were all around the delays in terms of raw materials and goods, particularly from overseas. This year, the delays will be around businesses who simply can’t produce (or deliver) due to an impacted workforce.
  6. You need to factor in the financial impacts on budgets and cashflow of any loss of staff and capacity due to the virus. I’m already seeing businesses that are losing multiple days of trade due to staff either being infected or deemed close contacts.

It’s my guess that this first quarter of 2021 could be patchy, both in terms of your business and the economy generally. Now I’ve re-entered the world, I can see it is significantly quieter around town than what it normally would be. People are lying low at the moment – all of which has a dollar domino effect in small and family business.


This Week’s Tip

“One upside to COVID – my weight is down 5kg in a week.
The downside – for the first time in my life, I can honestly say I don’t have much of an appetite.”

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