January 10, 2020 By SmartBiz Team

In the time of coronavirus, it’s even more important to stay on top of your employee management strategies or put new ones in place. With more and more employees working remotely, go over your current employee policies and explore items to add to increase or steady productivity.

It’s important to focus on your products or services and stay connected – or build - a solid customer base. If your business isn’t expanding like expected, you might take a look internally. The way you manage your business has a huge impact on the bottom line. Here are areas to explore.

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1. Time management

Working from home can be difficult for even the most dedicated employee. Staying focused can be a challenge with a home full of others doing education online or working with another remote employee.

From order fulfillment to payroll to marketing and more, small business time management is a fine art, especially as COVID-19 continues to impact the economy and the health of those across the globe.

Managing time with distractions that come up throughout the day. Here is a sample of what might be sucking your valuable time away from your business responsibilities.

  • Constant email checking
  • Surfing the web mindlessly
  • Frequently posting/checking/responding to personal social media accounts
  • Micromanaging employees
  • Unnecessary meetings
  • Not delegating responsibilities

If these timewasters sound familiar, you’ll need to find a system to stay on track and complete tasks while achieving a healthy work/life balance. Here are two techniques to explore.

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system with working intervals called pomodoros, the Italian word for tomato. This technique encourages people to quit working against time and work with the time they have. The workday is broken into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks. After four pomodoros, you take a longer break of about 15 to 20 minutes.

The 80/20 rule is also called the “Pareto Principle". It was named after its founder, the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, back in 1895. It basically states that 20% of your efforts end up producing 80% of your results. That's why it's important to manage your time in a way that focuses your attention on the main efforts that will help you achieve set goals.

For an in-depth look at tips you can use to help manage your time, review 9 Tips to Improve Time Management Skills. In addition to learning to say no, planning time to relax and setting deadlines, we’ll show you how time management tools and programs can help keep you organized.

2. Delegate tasks

You’ve probably heard the saying “if you want something done right, do it yourself”. While this can be true, it’s not a great strategy during this time. Your plate is probably full with assessing income, delivery, and more. You’re doing yourself and your employees a disservice by trying to handle everything. Not only will your work life suffer, but your personal life can be impacted as well. Delegating can be uncomfortable for many entrepreneurs. Here are steps you can take to make the process less painful:

Determine the tasks you’d rather not do - Does bookkeeping make your stomach hurt? Do you dread doing payroll? Look at everything on your plate and pick out the things you’d just rather not have to worry about.

Choose who you’ll delegate to - Don’t toss accounting duties onto an employee without the education and background required. Additionally, look at workload. You don’t want to delegate to a staff member who already has a lot of important responsibilities.

Make your expectations clear - A simple “you’re in charge of this now” isn’t going to do. You need to make sure you’ve trained the person taking over adequately. Discuss the “why” in addition to the “how” when you’re passing along a project or task. Clear employee education is key.

3. Set concrete goals

Many small business owners only plan roughly a year in advance. It can be tough for a multitasking business owner to step away from day-to-day tasks and focus on the future-but it’s important. Going into 2021, it’s imperative to revisit your business plan is to set concrete goals.

When you think about the future of your business, what goals come to mind? You might want to increase revenue, expand market share, or introduce new products. Use the "SMART" method to craft specific goals. SMART is a set of criteria meaning your goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Our blog post, 14 Employees Goals Examples & How to Set SMART Goals, can clear the confusion and give you workable techniques.

4. Keep up with technology

Time is money, especially for a busy small business owners. Technology gives time back to you by helping your business function efficiently and effectively. Working with cloud technology is critical when managing a remote team. No matter what type of technology you use to complete tasks, finish projects, and reach goals, you need to keep up with the latest developments.

Outdated technology can not only affect the speed of your business, it can affect security. Running an old system or app can even end up being more costly than running up-to-date systems. If technology isn’t your thing, task a team member with implementation of new systems and processes. There can be consequences when implementing new technology. Read our article, The 3 Biggest Dangers of Implementing New Technology in Your Small Business. You’ll learn what to look out for and how to avoid a potential negative impact.


5. Automate operations

When you automate operations, it means using technology for work processes to reduce or completely eliminate human intervention. Time spent on mundane tasks takes away from time you spend on activities that can increase revenue. When you automate certain tasks, you and your team can focus on more business building initiatives. Here are articles outlining ways you can automate all or part of the tasks associated with marketing, customer service, accounting, and more:

6. Beef up team communication

Keep your team connected. In addition to staving off stress or boredom, it ups your communication and ability to finish projects on time.

In addition to personal communication, using a marketing tool to track projects and feedback is key. Some to try include BaseCamp or Asana.

7. Hire smartly

If you’re in the position to hire for a busy season or holiday shopping, make sure you make the right hiring decisions. We cover recruiting processes, how to onboard and classify a new employee, and tips to hire the right employees: Small Business Employees: Tips For Making The Right Hiring Decisions.

8. Keep employees safe and happy

As an employer, it falls to you to ensure your staff is kept safe during this trying time. Strategies include implementing a remote work policy, educating your staff and providing mental and physical health support when needed.

As developments are frequently updated, stay informed daily by following sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and your local government health department.

Follow the following health organizations:

Updates are available via television, radio, and social media platforms. Sign up for alerts so you’ll know when live press conferences are happening. If your employees are showing or reporting stress, review our article for actionable ways to help them: Stressed Employees: 6 Tips to Lessen the Burden.

9. Review your budget

Why is budgeting essential? When you review your company’s current finances and plan for long-term financial goals, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, you’ll know what costs to cut and how you can spend more effectively to expand or rebuild your operations. You’ll notice the places you can cut back or eliminate expenses.

Additionally, with a thorough and organized business budget, you’ll face fewer obstacles securing funding from lenders and investors. Neither of these funding sources is likely to work with your company if you can’t provide a transparent and easy to follow guide to your expected income and expenses. And without that extra funding to grow your business, you might not have what you need to meet the financial goals you’ve set in your budget.

If you need to get started, refer to our post on the SmartBiz Small Business Blog: How to Make a Business Budget.