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22 April 2020

Top tips for business management during the Covid-19 crisis

The Coronavirus has presented the business world with a unique challenge. At Steeles Law, we have focussed on four specific areas as we work our way through the crisis, all of which will be applicable to every business.

Director Michael Fahy gives his top tips for business management during the Covid-19 crisis.

  1. External communications

As our face to face contact with clients and contacts has disappeared, it is now vital to develop appropriate communication channels whilst remembering, what works for a Commercial client will not necessarily be suitable for an elderly Private client. Ensure you consult with heads of teams in devising a communications policy which is appropriate for each audience group. We are now offering Zoom, Skype and FaceTime appointments instead of face to face meetings.

  1. Operations

Form a management team, draw up a plan and agree on who is responsible for each section in terms of implementation of the plan. Finance is key and swift action is required to control cash flow – this is not the time to bury your head in the sand.

Develop robust IT systems ensuring that all staff can work effectively from home.  Your IT systems should be constantly monitored to ensure employees are working efficiently, providing the best possible user experience.

Ensure your IT environment is secure.  Consider either 2 Factor Authentication or a Virtual Private Network (VPN).  This will help to protect your business against Cyber Criminals intercepting your remote worker logins and gaining access to your corporate network and client data.  GDPR breaches can be costly.

Be open and agile in embracing new ways of working, which will include facilities such as Zoom, for video conferencing (where would we be without it over the last few weeks, allowing everything from Board Meetings to Yoga lessons!).

Consider electronic signatures for the signing of documents and contracts, they can be legally binding.  Docusign and Adobe Sign are well-established products that work seamlessly with most IT systems.

Send regular IT updates to your employees of your top IT queries.  Working remotely, at short notice can be a steep learning curve for staff, so share experiences to help reduce downtime.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but risk management must be taken seriously and move up the Board Agenda – Covid-19 is not the only significant risk facing businesses. An obvious other risk is the failure of your IT system – have you stress tested your system recently?

  1. Marketing

Marketing should not be put on hold but increased by using new channels to promote services to clients and potential clients.

There is an immediate need for information so consider where you can draft Guidance Notes and updates on the implications/problems arising from Covid-19 which are affecting your client base.

As we work our way through the lockdown period, attention should be paid to what will come in the next phase. Are you ready to get ahead of the competition as we start to return back to normal? Read more from our Nicki our Marketing Director.

  1. Internal communications

Communication is key and needs to cascade from the Board through to Heads of Departments to Teams and onto individual throughout the business.

As your team is suddenly spread out, no doubt over a range of geographical regions, make sure you have solid communication methods in place.

This is a stressful time for staff, but in addition to addressing serious issues remember to find ways of recreating the water-cooler conversation moments that will be missing and try to keep employees’ spirits up with more light-hearted items such as quizzes, photos and regular staff newsletters.

As we continue to face the new challenges Covid-19 throws at us, keep these 4 themes in mind, evolving your approach as the business world changes around us.

Our teams continue to work hard providing legal services for you and for your business during this unprecedented time. More than ever it’s important to keep in touch, our social accounts continue to provide legal updates and now you can also sign up to our e-news.

If you would like to discuss any of the points raised in this article or you would like to share your top tips for business management during the Covid-19 crisis, please do get in touch.

*The information provided in this article is designed to provide useful information on the subject, not to provide specific legal advice.