The effects of COVID-19 are and will continue to be unprecedented. We have seen this storyline many times in movies and TV series. In fact, I used to watch The Last Ship and was completely enthralled at the time with the potential effects of a pandemic situation and how people would react. While that was an extreme version produced by Hollywood, we are all now living a real life version. We must remember…..that was Hollywood and this is real life. How we react, respond, and move forward as human beings are critical to our success in both controlling the spread of COVID-19 and the long term financial impact.
While some are trying to capitalize on this situation, I urge us all to think of our family, our neighbors and our community. Small businesses account for 2/3 of new jobs and 44% of the economic activity for the US (according to the SBA as of Jan 2019). Besides the advice given by the experts from the CDC, WHO, and others in the medical community to curtail the spread, what we can do individually as humans to help ourselves and our community cushion the financial impact of this will have a significant impact for years to come. Here are a few ideas that we can do locally to help our community and the employees of those establishments.
- Order gift cards from your local restaurant, bar, or retail store. These local establishments are often reliant on cash flow to meet the monthly expenses. Any disruption to that could have dire consequences. This allows the merchant to have access to the funds from these gift cards now to help bridge the gap until we are able to freely visit them again.
- Order Take-out when you would normally have gone out. For those that this is a financially viable and a safe option, it will help those local restaurants maintain some income and some level of employees. It will also ease the burden on the grocery stores.
- Cash tips, tips, tips. In addition to the merchants, their employees will be significantly impacted financially. Many of them rely on hourly wages and tips to provide for themselves or their families. Providing generous cash tips will help them make ends meet during their period of lost wages. This is important not only for servers, but also the rest of the staff….kitchen, cleaning, backoffice, retail cashiers, etc. Even those hourly employees that don’t normally receive tips could greatly benefit from our generosity.
- Food bank donations. Now more than ever we will see an increase in the demand on our food banks. Besides making your own donations, you could help coordinate a collection in your community. Asking your neighbors to leave appropriate food and daily supplies in bags on their front step or similar safe location (if possible) for you to pickup will allow you to maintain social distancing and help those less fortunate.
- Buy merchandise from local artists. Local musicians, painters, and all artists rely heavily on merchandise income, particularly when they cannot perform due to the closing of venues in the area.
- Support your local paper. Online subscriptions to the town or regional paper will help provide updates on your community as well as support the local business and their employees.
- Reasonable stockpiling. We have all seen the reports of empty store shelves. If we can remember to provide for our families reasonably so that we can all share in the available resources as a community, we will be able to provide for all and allow shelves to be stocked more regularly.
For many the work-from-home model may be new. What we have to remember is that this is not a forced vacation. We need to try and keep businesses going to keep the economy moving forward. If we can get in to a daily routine as if we were still going to the office, it will help maintain our focus on driving business results, sustain the economy and maintaining income for our families and the community or businesses we serve.
We at PTP are working from home to maintain our social distancing to protect our employees, customers, and neighbors. We have setup our entire environment in the cloud to practice what we preach…..business agility, mobility, and remote capability. We have helped hundreds of companies be able to do the same. Many of these companies have successfully shifted to their own work-at-home strategy leveraging the technologies and procedures we helped implement for this type of situation. We are encouraging our employees and customers to take care of their families and take an active part in their communities by encouraging some of these actions.
We are here for you and our communities. Think Globally Act Locally.