COVID-19 Contingency Ideas
The authors haven’t been identified, but their ideas are verbatim (i.e., in other words, I pretty much left what you sent to me intact.) As it turns out, the list includes cost-reduction ideas plus many other items to consider during these unusual times.
- Two items came up immediately from a professional services standpoint. One can have a long-term cost benefit and the other pertains to staff development. The first is the forced efficiencies of Zoom meetings! While clunky in the first stages, as those who work from home adjust, we’re seeing quick improvements. Another idea is the power of delegation. When things need to happen fast, allowing colleagues to step up and take ownership with the proper amount of authority is providing huge personal growth and allowing leaders to continue to lead.
- Remote work presents unique obstacles for teams and projects. For some helpful tools, go to Project Manager.com and check out Coronavirus: Work From Home Software & Tips.
- This may be the time to deal with underperformers.
- As your team works remotely, identify normal recurring expenses that could be reduced, like office space.
- Can you or should you draw down on your line of credit, like Ford and GM have?
- Consider reducing or canceling noncritical outside services and have your employees perform them.
- Renegotiate communications services (i.e. phone and internet).
- Consider a temporary layoff of salaried staff, including engineers (for two to three weeks).
- Reduce the workweek to 32 hours, with a 20 percent reduction in salaries
- Eliminate 401k matches.
- Renegotiate building leases before they expire.
- Terminate leases of unused or partially used facilities.
- Consolidate the use of facilities.
- Negotiate to stop monthly lease payments on hi-lo equipment or other rental equipment that’s not being used until it’s needed again (i.e., pay when you use it).
- Conduct virtual happy hours with your team to save travel time and costs.
- Reduce compensation now and repay when the crisis is over.
- Is this the time to do a reset? Make some long-overdue changes.
- Institute face-to-face meetings via the computer and Zoom.com. This was an application we had used in the past, but it has quickly become a daily part of our world.
- We reviewed our current client base and the receivables for each. We went through and “rated” clients based on our knowledge as to which would continue/shut down due to the crisis, or which might cut back services or increase services. We also discussed and set credit limits for each client.
- We instituted a significant increase in our rates for new work.
- This week we added the caveat that all new work must pay one week in advance, and we’ll continue that practice moving forward. We have become very selective with new work, for fears of getting the necessary manpower.
- This crisis will someday end and we need to make sure we come out on the other side with positive feelings from our current clients.
- We looked at all our support positions and have put “check points” in place to stay proactive with layoffs. At this point we haven’t laid anyone off, but we will continue to monitor.
- We moved/converted our hiring and employee orientation during this crisis, to be done online. Interviews are conducted via an HR software package and orientations are completed via Zoom and other media.
- We implemented an attestation questionnaire for entrance to our offices, and are currently taking the temperatures of all employees and visitors prior to entering the secured area of the building.
- We’re sending weekly memos to our staff and frontline folks expressing our gratitude for their efforts, along with reiterating CDC standards for controlling the virus. We have also communicated regularly with our clients and kept them informed of our status.
- At this point, we have continued to pay our bills as normal; however, that appears to be against the grain. (Editorial comment: I have spoken to this issue before. Being appropriately good to your suppliers pays huge dividends in the long run.)
- Being a Michigan resident, the original feel to this was like hunkering down for a blizzard. The thought was we would all be locked in for a few days, the storm would pass, and we would return to business as usual. Well, that will not be the case. This “blizzard” is more like an early return to winter. We’ll have a whole season ahead of us with many adjustments before we get back to “normal.”
- Apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan/grant.
- Apply for other loans related to the virus.
- Maximize unemployment benefits.
- From an insurance standpoint this is a good time to review sales and payroll projections and ask your agent to lower to match projections. Put unused vehicles in storage (comprehensive coverage only) and if you need help with premiums contact your agent, as many carriers will work with you to avoid cancellation and defer payments.
I’m not sure whether I’ll republish the list, but if you have some ideas that aren’t on the list above, please hit “Reply” and send them to me.