The Challenges of Responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic in the Business World

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article | The Challenges of Responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic in the Business WorldRight now, there are a lot of companies that are figuring out how they are going to respond to the pandemic moving forward. Even though it is great news that many people have already gotten vaccinated, the virus is still out there. Furthermore, the virus is continuing to mutate, creating a lot of concerns for companies that are trying to stay afloat. For this reason, a lot of people are going back to school to get extra credentials, as the cost of CFA has gotten lower. What are a few of the biggest challenges that companies are going to face moving forward? Take a look at some of the key topics below.

The Growing Role of the Digital World

One of the biggest challenges is the increasing digitization of the business world. Because a lot of people are unable to go to physical stores right now, more people are purchasing goods and services online. Companies need to do everything they can to make sure they are accessible online. It is true that some products and services are more amenable to the online world than others. At the same time, it is incumbent on the companies to be as creative as possible. The more they can open doors to the digital world, the easier time they will have generating revenue in the current environment. It will be interesting to see how companies do this moving forward.

The Challenge of Supply Chains

Another major challenge that companies are facing right now has to do with supply chain issues. In the past, a lot of companies would try to rely on a single supplier for everything. The biggest benefit of this is that companies can develop a strong relationship with a single supplier, knowing that the supplier understands exactly what they want. Now, this is not a smart move. It is important for companies to rely on a variety of suppliers to hedge their risk. What this means is that if something happens to that supplier, such as they are forced to shut down because of changing regulations and their jurisdictions, the company will still be able to rely on other suppliers to fill the gaps. This is something that businesses will have to consider moving forward.

The Growing Reliance on Work from Home

There are a lot of businesses who are wondering how they are going to contend with the current work-from-home culture. Right now, there are a lot of companies that are still unable to return to the office. Because of current virus transmission rates, along with regulations in their areas, a lot of companies still have to have their employees work from home. Even though there are a lot of benefits that come with working from home, companies also still have to make sure their team members can communicate with one another. Companies that can find a way to ensure their employees can stay on the same page will be put in the best position possible to be successful.

Address These Growing Challenges

These are just a few of the many challenges that businesses are facing right now. As the pandemic continues to be an issue, companies need to figure out how they were going to address these challenges. Business owners and leaders need to remember that this is not something they need to go through on their own. There are professionals who are willing to lend a helping hand to businesses in need. If companies can find a way to overcome these challenges, they can set themselves up for success moving forward.

10 Top Tips for Making an Employee Redundant

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Redundant|10 Top Tips for Making an Employee RedundantMaking an employee redundant is never easy, but it can be more manageable if you follow the right steps. Discover more, here…

Redundancy is on people’s minds more than ever before. Since the coronavirus pandemic started, the UK government has tried to mitigate these redundancies. But, unfortunately, it’s not always possible.

If you’ve done your best to follow government guidelines to save your employees and you still plan on making an employee redundant it’s important that you do it the right way.

In this post, we’re going to cover what redundancy is, whether COVID-19 has made redundancy more commonplace, and share some tips on how to make an employee redundant. So, to make sure you tackle this task the right way, read on…

What Does it Mean to Make an Employee Redundant?

Before we share our top tips on how to make an employee redundant, we’re going to briefly go over the definition of redundancy, so you know what it entails.

Redundancy is the dismissal of an employee because the employer no longer requires anyone to do their job. This could be because the business is:

  • Changing what it does
  • Upgrading to new technology or machinery that makes the employee’s job redundant
  • Changing location or closing down
  • Doesn’t have enough money to retain certain job roles

For a redundancy to be considered so, the employer must demonstrate that the employee’s job will no longer exist. This way the employer can’t use the excuse of redundancy to unfairly dismiss an employee for other reasons.

Redundancies can be compulsory or non-compulsory. This depends on whether you allow the employee to take their redundancy voluntarily or make them take it.

Employee’s Redundancy Rights

To give you an idea of the rights an employee has when you make them redundant, here’s a quick list of what you might have to provide them with:

  • Redundancy pay
  • A redundancy notice period
  • A consultation with their employer
  • The option to move into a different job role
  • Time off work to look for a new job

This probably goes without saying, but do not select people for redundancy based on age, gender, disability or because the employee is pregnant. This will likely be considered unfair dismissal.

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Redundant|10 Top Tips for Making an Employee RedundantIs COVID-19 Forcing Employers to Make Staff Redundant?

Coronavirus has obviously had a huge impact on businesses, with the Financial Times reporting that the UK economy has shrunk by a fifth since the pandemic started. The government’s Job Retention Scheme has eased the pressure somewhat, but lots of businesses are still faced with having to let employees go.

Just so you have an idea of the companies that have had to make large proportions of their staff redundant in the UK, here’s a quick list of some of them:

  • Rolls-Royce: 9,000 staff
  • BP: 10,000 staff
  • Centrica: 5,000 staff
  • Bentley: 1,000 staff
  • British Airways: 12,000 staff
  • The Restaurant Group: 1,500 staff
  • Oasis and Warehouse: 1,800 staff

These are just a few of the major companies who have had to make redundancies. So, if you’ve found yourself in a position where you have to make some, you’re not on your own. The only thing you can do now is make sure you carry out the proecdure in a way that’s best, or least painful, for both parties.

10 Top Tips for Making an Employee Redundant

Now that we know what redundancy is, and that COVID-19 is forcing more employers than ever to consider it for their employees, it’s time to give you some tips on how to go about it. Whether you’re making one staff member redundant, or hundreds, it’s important that you try to do so with compassion and tact, which these tips will help you do.

1. Be clear and communicate your reasons effectively

The wordier and more complex the message, the more confusing it will be and the more upset it will cause. So, it’s important to make sure the message you share with your employees is as clear and consistent as possible. To do this, try and communicate the reasons why the business has to make them redundant as best as possible.

2. Preparation and practice

This might not be necessary if you’re only making a single employee redundant, because in that scenario it’s better to have an actual one-to-one conversation with the employee.

However, if you’re making several employees redundant, and you’re planning on giving a speech, prepare the script carefully and practice delivering it until you’re comfortable with what you’re saying. Also, prepare to answer questions and try not to talk too much when the staff are giving their input. It’s better to listen to their concerns and answer them effectively.

3. Avoid leaks

You don’t want to go through all the preparation, practice and honing of a clearly communicated message and have news of the redundancy get our before you’re able to deliver it. Also, there’s nothing worse than gossip getting out and causing undue stress to your employees. So, keep it as under wraps as possible before breaking the news that redundancies will be made.

4. Provide a clear end date

Whether it’s to a single member of staff, or many, giving a firm end date will make it easier for them to move on and start looking for a new job. Also, as we mentioned earlier, you might need to provide some time off for them to search for a new job, so factor that in when you plan the employee’s end date.

5. Share resources that can help your employees

There are loads of organisations that offer support for those who are made redundant, especially with COVID-19 making them more prevalent. Sharing details on where your employees can find help might help them feel less alone and anxious about being made redundant.

6. Don’t make your employees keep it a secret

Keeping word of the redundancies under wraps before they’re announced is fine, but once the employees who are going to be made redundant have been informed, don’t force them to keep it a secret from others.

It might seem like a good idea at the time, because it will stop other employees from worrying about their own jobs. That said, all it does is isolate the redundant employees further, as they won’t be able to seek support from their friends and colleagues.

7. Don’t announce redundancies before a weekend or holiday

If you make redundancies before a weekend or holiday, those employees are likely to go home and feel isolated. If you do it earlier in the week, at least they can air out their grievances with you and seek support from their colleagues.

8. Be careful when trying to make the redundancy sound positive

It’s tempting to try and make the redundancy seem like a good thing to put your employees at ease. But, being made redundant is generally a bad situation, so letting them down gently is the better approach.

For example, telling a working mother “at least you’ll have more time with your kids” isn’t a consolation. Most people will either need their job to feed their kids, or enjoy their job and will have chosen to do it for a reason. So, be sure not to make light of the situation.

9. Don’t ask your employees to stick around to finish a project

The reason you’re letting the employees go in the first place is because their job has become redundant. If you tell them they’re being made redundant and then ask them to stay on until they’ve finished a project they’re working on, it’s doesn’t reflect well on you.

10. Look after yourself

Obviously, putting the redundant employees first is a good strategy and should be implemented before you start thinking about yourself. But, don’t forget about yourself once you’ve helped out your employees.

Apart from the stress of giving the news, you’ll likely be losing colleagues and friends as well. So, getting support from others at your company might help you through it. Also, before you make the announcement, it might be good to get the backing of your company, so you know you’re not taking the burden on your own.

Are you Ready to Announce Your Redundancies?

Hopefully, after reading this post, you now have a better idea of what redundancies are, and are aware that you’re not alone in making them due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We also hope you’ve garnered some useful tips to help you make the announcement to your employees along the way.

Like we said at the start of this post, it’s never easy to make the people you see every day at the office redundant. That said, you can try your best to mitigate their suffering and your own.

Thanks for reading and good luck with the redundancies.

Soft Skills for Handling Change and Uncertainty Effectively

StrategyDriven Change Management Article |Handling Change|Soft Skills for Handling Change and Uncertainty EffectivelyTackling Change Amidst Uncertain Circumstances

Handling change is always difficult. It can be tough to adjust to starting a brand new and complex job or needing to shift your business. COVID-19 has resulted in significant changes in all aspects of life. If you want to be able to get through major changes well, then there are various soft skills that can help though.

1. Flexibility

You should never be the kind of person who is “rigid.” You should strive to be as open as possible to things that seem foreign to you. Remember that familiarity isn’t always optimal especially when trying to learn and change.

2. Communication

The people who deal well with change tend to be the ones who have great communication skills. Succinct communication can go a long way, it’s productive and will help you in a time poor business environment where things need to get done quick! People gravitate to others who make things as transparent and hassle-free as possible.

3. Teamwork

Teamwork and solid communication skills basically go hand in hand. It’s in your best interests to team up with others who are around you well. Don’t ever forget that power exists in numbers. If you’re able to work well with others, you may be able to get through trying situations with ease, confidence and ample support.

4. An Upbeat Personality

It’s essential to have an upbeat attitude. It’s essential to be able to look at the bright side of life. It’s only natural that human beings are drawn to people who know how to keep things cheerful. A cheerful attitude is conducive to productivity that can pave the way for substantial and meaningful upgrades.

5. Being Able to Take on Problems Well

There’s no avoiding occasional problems. Occasional problems are natural. Your aim should actually be to figure out how to get through them like a bona fide champion. Learning how to think analytically and logically can take you far. If you’re able to remain composed, then you should be able to come up with solutions that can help all of your most pressing dilemmas become distant and irrelevant.

6. Leadership

The world could benefit from having leaders who are capable and confident. If you’re serious about the concept of being able to get through change in a healthy and productive way, then you should strive to hone your leadership abilities. It can be beneficial to know how to guide others.

7. Accountability

People who have the ability to get through change well are the ones who steer clear of being in denial. They are accountable. That’s because it can foster growth and personal enrichment. If you’re interested in being able to handle change in a healthy and beneficial manner, then you must admit when change needs to occur and there are issues. If you’re okay with change and all of the things that it may entail, then it can help you figure out how to take charge of it fully. Taking charge of change and all of its possibilities can give you a feeling of liberation and self-esteem.

Although there is a great deal of uncertainty especially in the current environment there are a range of soft skills we can improve and utilize. Be aware of the above soft skills in your workplace or personal life and try implementing the above advice.

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor |Simon ChoiAbout the Author

Simon Choi has a background in change management in consulting (including EY and KPMG) and financial services from Australia. In 2017, he started his own small business distributing lensball photography accessories.

Not Infected But Certainly Affected

StrategyDriven StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective Article |Coronavirus|Not Infected But Certainly AffectedEvery time there is an event that captures the attention of practically everyone, I try to look around and consider things. The many people infected with the virus are focused on their health, getting well and keeping their families safe. During any normal flu season, the rest of us would be going about our business and living our lives as usual. This year things are quite different. The virus we are experiencing now has affected all of us.

Even though you may feel physically fine, you are living a very different life. The way we do things and speak has changed dramatically. The word social is taking on a new role in our modern language. Social media is our connection to the rest of the world outside of our homes. Social distancing dictates how we interact with each other in person if you are lucky enough to go out. Social gatherings are a distant memory. We are now more aware of everything and everyone we touch.

Did you ever think it would be more offensive to shake someone’s hand then to back away from them in horror? It felt strange at first but now that everyone is doing it, it feels normal. Forget about a hug, if you try that you’ll get the same reaction as if you pulled a knife.

Working from home is a new concept for most people. Working in instead of working out at the gym to stay in shape. Even TV personalities are broadcasting from home. We are all becoming internet personalities. Posting our new pastimes on social media to entertain others who have become bored due to their isolation. I saw someone hold up a sign that said, Will work for toilet tissue! Those of us in essential services are still working, but things are very different. No more rush hour, it feels like we are rushing through all of them.

At times of crisis you will also see something you don’t always notice. The unlikely heroes who show up to help those who really need it. Even though we are experiencing an economical effect, we have for the most part put the basic need for our health ahead of everything else. Just when you thought the world was becoming more cynical and people more self-absorbed, we show a different side of ourselves. I have never felt so much satisfaction delivering toilet tissue to someone. People are so grateful for the little things. Things they took for granted are more appreciated. We thank those who deliver essentials for us and those who are working hard in the medical field to save lives.

Maybe the loss of human interaction will make us appreciate it much more now. Perhaps the human experience will take the place of material things. We spent so much time wishing our lives away. How many times have you said I need a vacation or I can’t wait to get away? We don’t often stop to enjoy where we are and who we are with. Now we are so thankful just to be healthy. Your car, your clothes and all your possessions cannot make you happy. Happiness is inside of you, you just need to bring it to the surface. Be happy you are alive and healthy, there are so many who are not. Doing something for someone else is the most fulfilling thing. Even if all you can do is cheer someone up, you are spreading hope and making their day a little better.

When you focus on the little things they add up to big things. Making the best of each day can lead to the best life. Treat negativity like the virus. If someone is full of negative energy and is trying to bring other people down, avoid them. I highly recommend social distancing in those cases. They are highly toxic and contagious and you need to make sure you don’t catch it. No matter how bad things are for you remember that there are others who are worse off. Try to make someone feel better about themselves not worse about you. You really want to spread something, spread cheer. Find something positive and build on it. Today’s hope makes tomorrow a success. We just may build some new relationships and have something good come out of this. Let the effect of the infection make us better people, the kind of people you wouldn’t mind being quarantined with.

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Glenn GreeleyGlenn Greeley is founder of CGI Commercial Cleaning Group headquartered on Long Island, New York. For more information visit, call 631-669-6033, or email [email protected]

Forget Balance: How COVID-19 Drives Home the Importance of Work-Life Blending

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Work-Life Blending|Forget Balance: How COVID-19 Drives Home the Importance of Work-Life BlendingAs COVID-19 began to move throughout the US, organizations reacted quickly to enable employees to “work from home.” For many leaders, this was a shock and they struggled to effectively adapt their organization to a blended world. The myth of work/life balance was prevalent in many companies as they failed to recognize the trends pointing to increased integration of work and life. The concept of work/life balance, or the separation between work and life, was dealt a huge blow with the outbreak of COVID-19. The novel coronavirus forced leaders of hierarchical, on-site, 9-5 businesses to acknowledge what should have been blatantly obvious: work and home life can no longer be looked at as being balanced but should be viewed as blended.

COVID-19 simply accelerated the trend that has been taking place for years. In my TEDx Talk, Blendification® of Work and Life, I highlight that social, technological, and economic impacts are forcing work and life together. The work/life balance myth has run its course. Here are some observations from the focus on work/life balance:

Work/life balance has become a cover for “look at how hard I am working.” Over the years, I have never heard anyone say, “I need more balance, I am spending way too much time with my family.” More accurately, it is the reverse. People are constantly saying they “need more balance,” which is code for “I am working too hard” or “look at how hard I am working.” They are typically bringing attention to their work ethic as if it is a badge of honor. As a result, work/life balance has turned into a personal proclamation about my strong work ethic at the expense of my personal and family life.

Work/life Balance creates an adversarial relationship between the two. When pursuing work/life balance, an adversarial or competitive relationship becomes prevalent. When this happens, people begin to keep score. It is not uncommon to hear people add up their work hours and become frustrated when they exceed what they consider “balanced.” The pursuit of balance is a futile quest. If you are pursuing your human potential, you cannot separate work and life. You will never achieve equilibrium between the two.

Work and home life do not happen in averages. Life happens in extremes, but we talk about it in averages. As someone once told me: “If I have one foot in a boiling hot bucket of water and the other in ice cold water, the average is fine, but I am not feeling fine!” That describes work and home life. There are constant demands that create the need to be in one area or the other. With fluctuating and conflicting demands, pursuing balance is unrealistic.

While work/life balance has proven to be a myth, blending work and life is more realistic and aligns with social, technological, and economic trends. There are two aspects to consider when blending work and life: the physical and the psychological. Here are some insights into each:

Physical Blending Work and Life

As the novel coronavirus swept the world, companies scrambled to create work-from-home capabilities. As mentioned, this accelerated the trends that were already taking place. Organizations quickly leveraged technology to enable a transition from working in an office to working from home. In some cases, this was done hastily because there were tangible deadlines and corresponding health consequences. As work becomes more integrated physically with homelife, here are ideas that will be helpful going forward:

  • Provide guidance to employees (directional and financial) in setting up dedicated workspace.
  • Make recommendations on boundaries to reduce “interference.”
  • Update policies and procedures with detailed expectations related to working from home.
  • With increased risk of technology and security breaches, make sure you have updated your protection and keep enhancing it since hackers see an opportunity in penetrating our data.
  • Maintain standards in work attire for those participating in online meetings.
  • Create dedicated technology-driven social events.

Psychologically Blending Work and Life

While most of the focus has been on the physical aspects of blending work and life, the true benefits of a blended life are psychological. The millennial generation has opened our eyes to the need to pursue our human potential by positively impacting the world. Given that we spend over 50% of our waking time at work or in work-related activities, we cannot possibly realize our human potential without incorporating work. As a result, the workplace becomes one of the primary areas where people pursue their potential and maximize their impact on society.

What happens at work, happens at home, and this inherent connection is key to creating a better workplace, better homelife, better customers, and better communities. When workplace organizations recognize the importance of growing and developing their employees—not just their job-related skills, but their personal and leadership skills—they will see happier and more fulfilled employees taking pride in their entire life. Here are some points related to developing the psychological aspects of blending work and life:

  • Develop, define, and disseminate your desired culture to make it so compelling and strong that it is alive when employees are working from home.
  • Align your culture with a motivating cause.
  • Create a strategic platform that sets clear strategic focus, outcomes, and actions that are connected to the organization’s culture and cause.
  • Cascade the strategic platform throughout the company through internal peer accountability groups (we call them Roots Groups in The Blendification® System).
  • Institute ongoing training and development around activating your employees’ human potential, leading to greater lifelong fulfillment.
  • Build an ongoing communication and operating system that blends your culture, strategy, and execution, linking employees’ daily work to meaningful outcomes.

The illusion of work/life balance has been revealed with the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is time to embrace the trends that have been taking place for years and leverage work to enhance employees’ lives, customers’ lives, and the benefits to their communities. Since COVID-19 accelerated working from home, business leaders now have the opportunity to increase their company’s impact by blending work life and homelife.

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Dan BruderDan Bruder is the CEO of Fusion Dynamics Group, an international strategy and leadership consulting firm based in Colorado. He has an accomplished background in executive leadership and is a faculty member of Colorado State University’s Executive MBA program and the University of Colorado, Boulder’s Graduate Leeds School of Business. Drawing on his 30-plus years of leadership experience, he created The Blendification® System: Activating Potential by Connecting Culture, Strategy and Execution. The Blendification® System book is available on Amazon as well as through a series of workshops and keynotes. Learn more about The Blendification® System, at