With the threat of the Coronavirus likely to be with us for some time yet, we need to continue adapting to a new way of working and living. So what does this look like for advice businesses?
The new workplace
Under the new guidelines, you and your employees must follow social distancing principles at work. These include staying 1.5 metres away from others and avoiding physical greetings like handshakes or hugs.
To work out how many people you can safely have in your workplace at one time, Safe Work Australia says each person in the office should have four square metres of space around them.1 To work this out, multiply the length of your office by its width and divide it by four. These guidelines apply to both employees and visitors to your office.
Good hygiene is crucial to help avoid future outbreaks of Coronavirus. Make sure you have hand sanitiser, tissues and disinfectant available in your reception and throughout the office. Consider printing out posters to promote safe hygiene principles. Remind your employees to stay away from the workplace and get tested for Coronavirus if they experience any cold or flu symptoms.
Managing concerns and expectations
Your employees and clients may be nervous about leaving the safety of their homes. Rather than forcing them to do something they’re uncomfortable with, it’s better to give them some options.
If your employees commute to work on public transport, consider whether you could operate your business with flexible working hours to help them avoid peak hour congestion. Alternatively, you may be able to give them the option of continuing to work from home some or all of the time. This will also help you manage the new office spacing requirements.
Let your clients know that even though your office is set up for social distancing, they can continue to meet with you online or over the phone if they prefer.
Getting social online
Now may also be the time to really embrace social media, blogs and live chats to connect with your clients, peers and community. It can be a great opportunity to increase your profile, strengthen your existing relationships and build new ones.
With large gatherings banned for the foreseeable future, you can find innovative ways to hold client seminars or training sessions online – like using online conferencing and webinar apps, or holding live sessions through virtual platforms. Focus on the client experience and think about how you can evolve your business to offer the same type of services but in a new, socially-distant way.
Even though it will feel different to what you’re used to, it’s important to recognise that this may be our ‘normal’ way of life for a long time. By maintaining a positive mindset and looking for opportunities within the current limitations, you can make the most of the new world for your business, employees and clients.
1 Safe Work Australia, Office: Physical distancing, updated 28 May 2020.
Colonial First State Investments Limited ABN 98 002 348 352, AFSL 232468 (Colonial First State) is the issuer of super, pension and investment products. This is based on the understanding of current regulatory requirements and laws as at June 2020. While all care has been taken in the preparation of this document (using sources believed to be reliable and accurate), to the maximum extent permitted by law, no person including Colonial First State or any member of the Commonwealth Bank Group of companies, accepts responsibility for any loss suffered by any person arising from reliance on this information. This information is for the adviser only and should not be handed on to any investor. This information should only be treated as educational and not taken as any form of advice including but not limited to financial, business, or marketing. Seek professional advice when necessary. It does not take into account any person’s individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Financial Services Guide (FSG) before making any recommendations to a client. Clients should read the PDS and FSG before making an investment decision and consider talking to a financial adviser. The PDS and FSG can be obtained from colonialfirststate.com.au or by calling 13 18 36.