AUGUST 2020 ANSWER TO THE QUESTION OF THE MONTH: What’s one thing you’ve started doing during the pandemic that you’ll continue doing when things return to normal?

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What’s one thing you’ve started doing during the pandemic that you’ll continue doing when things return to normal?

1. Customer touches, making a point to be more in contact with them.  We’ll keep that rolling.  We’re doing a better job of that during COVID than we did before.  It’s more of a relationship builder than just calling for the order.I’d never done much shopping online before COVID; I’ll continue doing that.

2. I’m handwashing and staying home when I’m sick and I’m enforcing that for the rest of my family too.
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3. We have started implementing 10-minute instead of 7-minute tee times, it keeps people in sync much better.  We’re also setting tee times for tournaments.  It eliminates all the time people used to stand around waiting.  The tournament organizers don’t like it much, but the golfers appreciate it.
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4. Washing my hands all the time.  I was pretty disciplined before, but I’ve become obsessed with it.  I do more planning when shopping; what do we have, what do we need.  I am more conscious of my money.
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5. Our daily team check-in.  We started doing it because we’re working remotely, but we’ve discovered it keeps us on task.  Everyone is in tune with what is going on in the company and what we’re all working on.

We all decided to work in our respective offices on Mondays until 11:00 – we get a lot of work done that way.

I recently started sending out a positive post to my team every morning at 6:00 AM.  It can be a quote, or a video link, each week is focused on a theme.  This week it’s positivity, next week it’s Christopher Robin, Piglet, and Tigger.

6. I now understand the importance of staying home when I have a cold and keeping my germs to myself.  If I’m in any way sick I don’t want to contaminate anyone else.
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7. We shortened our Saturday hours because walk-ins are rare.  We get everything done and if there’s funeral work to do we can work overtime.

COVID has forced me to pay closer attention to the materials I buy fresh.   That’s a large part of my business and it’s helped me improve my margins in that area.

8. I am more conscious of health – of where I go and what I do.  I don’t go to stores where they don’t enforce the mask rule.
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9. Virtual meetings.  We’d never held those before COVID.  Now our senior leadership team connects this way.  We used to do them every M – W – F; then we dialed back to Wednesday.  I see that going on moving forward. We have also used them for a Traction check-in.

Virtual team meetings have been especially valuable as we implement our NetSuite ERP system.  We use it for training and check-ins.

10. I’ve changed nothing about anything.  My days feel, look, and are exactly the same as they were before.  Our work is outside, and I don’t worry much about COVID though we are spending less time with each customer to be safer.
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11. I have embraced the virtual meeting to save time.  I didn’t realize how much time I spent driving to meetings!  Except for rare occasions, I have stopped holding meetings on Mondays; this has made me more efficient. Now my entire team has started doing them at the end of the week.
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12. I am utilizing Zoom technology more often both in business and personally; I’m getting more comfortable with the variations and features.  We’re also reading a lot more because we can’t go out as much.
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13. Virtual meetings.  We’re spread out throughout the state; every month we would bring all our branch managers to St. Cloud for a meeting.  Now we meet virtually biweekly (we use Microsoft Teams).  This keeps us all on the same page. The meetings are shorter, we have an agenda; we use it and it’s efficient.  Now, only our quarterly meetings with the branch managers are held in-person.
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14. Other than being at home, I haven’t changed a whole lot since the pandemic.  Most of my business has always been on-line.

I’ve been walking more and I’ve made that my time to listen to podcasts. I get 4 to 4-1/2 miles in a day.

Sadly, though I haven’t been doing a lot of breakfasts with Tom.

15. We have shifted our marketing budget for trade shows to our website.  We had just been existing online, now we’re actually seeing some results!  We’re going to keep pushing that forward.
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16. Our doors are only open to the public by appointment.  That has helped us be more focused.  A lot of our work was already being done virtually, so it has not hindered our business.  We will continue to do that for the foreseeable future.
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17. In the shop, we’ve split people up into multiple breaks times.  We’re up to 40 people on the shift and it enables us to keep machines running.  It’s much more efficient.  As we continue to grow it will help to have that flexibility.
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18. We are creatures of habit – I used to do my consulting in person. However, COVID forced me to work more on zoom and I like it.  I’m able to get my billable hours in four days and I’m taking Fridays off!  I’m enjoying that very much!
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19. I am extremely impressed with leadership’s ability to communicate in times of crisis.  Through our HR system (Bamboo HR) I can push emails to each employee about the state of the company.  We do daily stand-up huddles with the supervisors, but it’s nice for everyone to hear from me and the leadership team.  Employees have the Bamboo app on their phones; they can request time off, send documents, and receive communication.  They can also sign for their handbook and receive policy updates through it.
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20. I am going to close my training business down.  Much of what I do is for the State of Minnesota; they have changed much of what we can and cannot do.  It’s not working for me and it appears it won’t going forward.

Luckily, I discovered another opportunity – Forever Memory Preservation. I’m going to focus on that business moving forward.

21. I’m going to keep growing out my hair!

Individuals will end up processing the situation differently; it’s important for everyone to be respectful of where other people are at.

I was nervous about enforcing the mask mandate when it came out.  We were able to navigate that pretty well without upsetting anyone.  We were able to talk about who expects people to wear masks around them and who doesn’t.  My hope is that people will continue to be considerate.

22. It’s been a bonus to have essential businesses as customers and we’re sticking with that.

We used to have lots of repair technicians coming into the shop, now we let the technicians take the trucks home and have a parts person deliver parts to them.

23. Alcohol!  Actually, I’m just being smart. 😊

My business has been decimated by the pandemic, so I started a part-time postal job to tide me through.  I enjoy it more than I ever thought I would and see myself continuing it after COVID.  It’s important work and I like and find value in it.

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