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Working Remotely, Team Collaboration

Managing Downtime During the COVID-19 Crisis

Gavin Skeels

Over the course of the COVID-19 global pandemic, we’re likely to see it affect the economic effects on businesses both big and small. But whilst most businesses outside of essential services will no doubt go through some hard times, there are also numerous businesses that will continue to have their staff working, a vast majority choosing to do so from home.


What's the best way to maximise your staff’s capacity when they’re working from home and life is far from being ‘business as usual’? Here’s a short list of ideas you might want to try.

Passion Projects

Is there a project or idea that you’ve been wanting to work on for ages but the priorities of your 9-5 workload just wouldn’t allow for it? Maybe take a leaf out of tech heavyweight Atlassian’s book. Atlassian’s 20% Time provides individuals and teams extended time to think 'outside the box’ and work on their own passion projects. With more time and project pressure essentially being removed, it’s a fantastic opportunity to fully explore new products and service offerings.

Conduct Customer I Market Research 

These days, so many of us fit into a buying persona of some type. Increased downtime provides a great opportunity to get to know our customers a bit better, arming us with information on how best to tailor our products and services to them better. Put together a survey EDM and send to portions of your database. Maybe even conduct A/B split test key pages of your website and see how the current state affects your visitors browsing/buying habits. 

GFC History Lessons

A lot of businesses have experienced economic conditions similar to this at some point in their history. For most, it was the GFC of 2008/09 and if your business is still around then you no doubt took measures to ensure your survival. Now is the perfect time to take a look back at decisions you make, markers or trigger points that made you make those decisions, and document the wins. 

Personal Transformation and Up-Skilling

Similar to not working on a passion project, we rarely get time to add to our own personal ‘toolbox’ and up-skill. Whether it's using this time to learn some software or understand new hardware on Lynda.com, brushing up on a long forgotten talent or perfecting your Creme Brûlée blowtorch technique by taking a Masterclass  - it’s all going to be profitable at some point down the road.

Collaborations and Networking

Social distancing might put the clamps on face-to-face, in-person networking for the time being but that certainly doesn’t stop us from making contact with friends and colleagues in the industry. Propose a Zoom call with a person in your LinkedIn network that you’ve always wanted to talk to. Reply to those messages in your LinkedIn inbox that you’ve been meaning to get to. Maybe even collaborate with someone you admire or have wanted to work with. 

Beta Test Product I Service Offerings

Ever wanted to release a product or service on a small scale to see if it has potential? Now is as good a time as any to take advantage of the extra time and a somewhat captive audience. The financial outlay wouldn’t be as much as if you were to roll out to your entire customer base and taking an incubated approach would form a good basis for future product/service offerings. 

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