Useful things employees can do in times of downturn – Let acknowledge that running a business during periods of uncertainty can be incredibly testing even to those that we see as the strongest amongst us. With what constitutes “business as usual’ being turned on its head; now poses an ideal time and opportunity to re-evaluate your business, your processes and procedures. Check out our Coronavirus (COVID-19) guide for employers.

What has worked well before may not be so effective now so let’s turn this upside down and find ways to pivot quickly. Instead of looking to reduce headcount lets look to utilize the experiences and skills otherwise unused and prepare for the ‘new’ working day and ways of doing things Useful things employees can do in times of downturn – what are they?

Let’s look where we are now – Business during periods of uncertainly looks completely different from the world we knew before. With the current Coronavirus, employers need to make allowances and take a flexible approach. There will be a high level of give and take from both sides. The most important thing during this time is communication – keep talking to your teams, be honest, be authentic and share your concerns alongside theirs. Look for solutions together and look at all options.

We can’t go past all the job losses we have heard about on the media – +and let’s not look past the panic buying (thank you media – well played) but what can we do to ensure workers do not suffer financial hardship during the Covid-19 crisis?

Employers are being forced to look at other ways, unpaid leave, using annual leave, reduced hours and reduced days, the employee working from home BUT what if we embraced this as the chance we needed to refocus? What does a NEW business model look like as a business during periods of uncertainty?
Ask yourself this question: Do I know what other skills and ideas my employees have?

I would assume that in many cases you won’t. You know what skills they have to do what your business required but we are not that business now – we need to be different so what else? What other skills do your employees have? What ideas have they got to help your business survive and then flourish in the new world that we will rise into?

ASK THEM – yes, it is that simple. I know I have mentioned communication a couple of times but that is because it is so important right now. Ask you, employees, what ideas they have, what can they do differently, what ideas have they got that they have always been too scared to say? Now is the time to embrace every idea, try every pathway you have never walked before, try that new process, that new product, that new procedure – you, after all, have nothing to lose but a lot to gain.

Here are some ideas that I have been working on with my clients – happy to share with you and also if you have more then please comment or send me an email so I can share with others.

Useful things employees can do in times of downturn

  • For hospitability businesses, you can start a delivery service for those that are isolated at home
  • What about opening a drive-thru/ drive-by for collection of pre-ordered meals
  • Look at the business processes, what can do with a re-jig
  • Blogs – get the team to write blogs about your business, the business products, and services and then post onto the website, Face book, twitter, LinkedIn and all other social media platforms you use.
  • Create training videos for new employees (ready for the upturn), customers, suppliers and as a guide to what you have and what you do
  • Take photos of the team doing their tasks, update product photos, etc
  • Update the website
  • Create new resources – the options are endless
  • Look for business awards and grants and get the team to apply for these
  • Check out tenders, get on the list for tender notifications and prepare the draft documents for quick submission processes
  • Do an online SEO course and then use those skills to get your site to the top of google
  • Look for other free online courses to update skills and processes – get the team doing them Marketing ideas – be creative
  • Move all your clients into a database or update a database – what about getting birthday dates for all your customers and then create a send out card account and pre-set a card to go out on a birthday.
  • Look at ways to reduce overall operating costs – this may be electricity use, utilities, stationery, resources etc – walk around and look what can be used another way or used less or even not at all
  • What about extra office space – have you any to rent out
  • Did you need to office/ workspace updated – maybe a painting party
  • Look to maintain loyalty with your valued customers – it is proven that those businesses that do this have a better outcome when coming out of times of downturn – make the calls, touch base, don’t set out to sell but set out to support
  • Update position descriptions – get the team to look at what they do and then do some job enhancement exercises
  • Create or update the induction process – have you got everything covered – if not then get the checklist prepared – do a walkthrough or role-play of the first day and then document what you found needed to be on the checklist.
  • Develop a transition plan for employees retiring or going on extended leave as well as a succession plan for key positions – start mapping out the training needed
  • Implement mentoring and coaching arrangements between experienced and new employees
  • Plan and develop skills, knowledge, and abilities through on the job training and formal skills development
  • What about a team health plan – at times like this mental wellness is also vitally important to work together to maintain or update health goals. Maybe a walking lunch or walking meetings.

These are some of the ideas that I have come up with in my brainstorming sessions for useful things employees can do in times of downturn. As mentioned before if you have any ideas or suggestions then please feel free to email them to me at so I can share with others.
Keep safe everyone at this challenging time.

Further sources of information