How are small businesses coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and what can we do to help?
Work from home assessment
Like many Australian businesses, Anywise has had to adapt to many changes since the outbreak of COVID-19 with all employees working from home. Adjustments have been made to try and make this process as easy as possible but of course it hasn’t come without its challenges, such as employees caring for their young children at home or holding meetings via video conference.
Given that staff are spending many hours in front of a computer in their home, Anywise enlisted the help of Melbourne-based occupational therapy company UNLIMIT-ED to provide individual workstation assessments for all employees.
Each employee sent in a photo of their home office set up and was given a call from an occupational therapist at UNLIMIT-ED to provide feedback.
Some key takeaways included:
Breaks from sitting in front of the computer every 20-30 minutes
Elbows are above the desk, not below
Use a computer monitor rather than a laptop screen
Direct line of vision should be in the top third of your screen (if not, put some books under your monitor)
Feet should be touching the floor
While each person’s individual set up was different, the OT assessment is the first step to ensuring employees can work comfortably at home.
Australian SMEs collaboration
Collaboration between Australian SMEs during the COVID-19 pandemic is essential to keeping the economy running.
We mentioned in a previous article about an Australian business offering free consultations on media training and a quick look on LinkedIn or other social networking platforms shows many companies offering webinars, free trials on products, support, free services and messages of encouragement during this pandemic.
Local business hires local staff
Did you know that Australia’s only medical mask making factory is located near Shepparton in Victoria?
Med-Con has hired 18 more staff to cope with mask production now at 24 hours a day. The factory was producing approximately 2 million masks/year but that’s now ramped up to 50 million masks/year to meet the federal government’s demands.
The factory’s two mask-making machines have been running full pelt with Army personnel lending a hand. Med-Con has ordered three more mask-making machines from a company in Echuca providing a much needed boost to the local economy during the coronavirus market downturn.
Med-Con has been operating in Australia for decades but only supplied a small percentage of face masks to the medical industry due to competition from China.
Another reason why it’s important to keep jobs in Australia to boost our economy in times of hardship.
Innovation in the time of coronavirus
While some businesses have been forced to close their doors indefinitely, others have found innovative ways to keep their business running and their staff employed.
Fine dining restaurant Attica has turned into a bakeshop and is offering home delivery for people within 10 km with Attica staff delivering the food to your door.
Musicians who have had gigs cancelled are offering online lessons which is a great way to support the Australian music industry which has lost $325 million in revenue due to this pandemic.
Small businesses employ 44% of Australia’s workforce and contribute just over a third of the nation’s GDP. However, according to the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, small business owners typically earn much less than the average wage and over half earn less than $25,000 a year.
So if you can shop locally, order delivery locally and buy a gift card from a local business to use when they reopen, please do so.