President’s Report – June 2020
I know that the past couple of months have been exceedingly difficult for our businesses, families, schools and community, but the hope is that there’s light at the end of this pandemic tunnel. The question is: will we be able to get back to life BC— BEFORE COVID? And if not, what do those paraments look like? Our culture is not designed for social distancing, we are a community of huggers, kissers, and even for the non-touchy-feely folks: hand-shakers. This crisis is not a short-term event; it will be with us for a while. So what do we do then? How do we go back to our places of employment, worship, and schools? According to most reports, we should expect a surge of people testing positive for the virus in late summer. This means that though we ease back into opening businesses and seeing our family and friends; we must approach with caution. Businesses need a Return to Work plan, with a strategy for employees that will refuse to return to an office setting until a vaccine is available. For employers, survey your employees now to see how they are doing and what they’re thinking. If they were able to work from home, did they run into technical difficulties? Did they get involve with video conference calls that you may have had? Did they have clear goals and deadlines? Were they able to meet those goals? Did they feel mentally and emotionally supported during this crisis?
Now more than ever, I think the pandemic has shown us how effectively/ineffectively our businesses can be run from home offices. Does your business have access to a mental health professional that may be able to help address the stress and anxiety that your staff may be having in transitioning back into an office space? How can your business improve your Work From Home program? We need to transition from measuring productivity based on hours worked to measuring productivity based on your employee’s results. We need to meet our employees where they are at and ask them what they need to help them achieve their goals. At the end of the day, we need to evolve in this new way of living. If unprepared, you will be facing a steeper uphill battle with the virus around the corner for a second round of battle.
We can create an opportunity to distance closer and bring our employees in while working apart. Our Chamber is working on a Return to Work Guide with input from the County, the CDC and other Chambers around the country. This is a new normal for us as we continue to make decisions day to day on what is the right thing to do for our businesses, our employees and our community. But please know that your Chamber is here, side by side, going thru the same ups and downs and we will continue to serve you and be here to support you. We will get through this.