My Covid-19 Business Experience
Let’s be honest, there isn’t very many industries that aren’t in pain right now. In fact, there aren’t many people that aren’t suffering right now.
Covid-19 hit the UK straight off the heels of Q1 which incidentally was one of our best. In an instant there was talk of the “new norm”. What did that mean? It meant sitting at home with a laptop balanced on whatever you have available and some nervous energy as people almost enjoyed the novelty of working from home for the first time.
Move forward six weeks and what a different feel.
The new norm means that we sit through Zoom calls where small talk no longer exists as you haven’t done anything worth talking about. Kids and pets join you in the “office” and you’ve become fatigued with the constant flow of new information and language.
Whoever used the word furlough or pivot before April 2020?
As a business owner I have literally been through a mountain of emotions. My first being how I protect my staff financially and my temporary workforce. Being in recruitment we have a responsibility for a lot of people. Thankfully furlough stepped in.
Recruitment became a swear word. Who wants to talk about recruitment from client side? Panic rose as we were refused for the CBILS loan. Now what?
Do you know what? This was when the learnings of the past year came in to play. I have worked with Rachel Spratling at Chalkhill Blue business consultancy for several months (little shout out there!). I have introduced financial forecasting against budgets but what is the point of that when there is little to no business? The biggest skill was how to forecast cash flow and do it daily/weekly. This surprisingly calmed me. We had a few months if we stopped the direct debits and controlled the outgoings. With furlough I forecasted we had until the end of June.
Well the end of June is looming. By understanding what I could and couldn’t control I was able to focus back on the business. For me that meant simply staying visible and not neglecting any of our customers.
There’s no point asking for business; you can’t have what they haven’t got, but you can just linger around.
By doing this I picked up a project to staff three shifts for an online retailer. Do I do picking and packing? Let’s be honest whether I do or don’t is irrelevant. I do now! This income is gratefully received and I will work day and night to maintain it.
The biggest challenge I have found is keeping the furloughed team engaged.
I can see they are feeling detached and frustrated. There was a point where I was sharing the increased temp numbers with them and I could feel through the tone of their replies that they were irritated by me. Was I bragging? No, I was sharing what I was doing to keep their salaries at 100% instead of 80% but they want to help and be involved not be sitting at home. We have introduced bounce back training on a Monday to keep everyone talking and involved in the return plan. I am not an island and working alone is just as hard.
The reason I wrote this blog is to share how it is for me. Look around on LinkedIn and recruiters are shouting about successes, redundancies and how they are going to bounce back. In reality some recruiters will be in health care and logistic areas that are still thriving; but most aren’t. This is not in our control. We must support each other. Talk to other recruiters yes competitors; job seekers and clients. Just keep talking about how it is for them. The more you talk and share the more you learn and you’ll find the areas you should focus in and in turn support others.
There are businesses that will fail. This will not be down to their actions it will be down to this totally rubbish situation.
There is no joy in competitors dropping, not now. Keep professional, keep ethical and share. That’s the approach I am taking. There will be more ups and downs. Currently they ebb and flow every hour but all we can give it is our best. What's your story?
Whatever business you are in, I wish you the best.