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    Helpful resources during the COVID-19 outbreak

    2020 will be remembered as a troubling time thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak. State mandated shutdowns for schools, closed businesses, and social distancing have created an uneasy time for businesses.
    Our thoughts are with our clients, their customers, fellow businesses, and all the families hit hard by this pandemic. Let’s face it – we’re all affected in one way or another.

    As an Account Manager, I’ve felt the stress it has had on my clients and I’m seeing how it’s affecting their business, employees, and families. I wanted to compile a list of resources to help during this coronavirus pandemic. My hope is to bring some comfort to those in need during this unprecedented time.

    Mitigate risk and establish a remote work option.

    There are several tools out there to help with communication and workflow. At Gravitate we use a handful of tools:

    • Front – All of our email flows through the Front app and works as a great collaboration tool. Instead of needing to forward emails, we can just tag a colleague or send them the link to the message. There are a bunch of workflows you can set up depending on your business needs.
    • Slack – As an alternative to email, Slack is used internally for quick messages. For example we use it for sending links or documents that need to be reviewed, progress updates on projects, or company wide announcements. My favorite thing about it is our ability to create multiple channels where we can segment discussions between departments, team members working on different clients, or even send out the occasional funny meme or story on our “Fun” channel.
    • Zoom – As a cloud based video communications platform, Zoom is great for both internal and client facing meetings.  It allows quick scheduling and recording options, as well as phone numbers for folks that might not have access to a computer. We use it for all our weekly meetings and impromptu reviews.

    If your employees are able to work from home, make sure to set some policies in place.  When it comes to digital communication, some policies to consider:

    • Mute yourself when you’re not talking. No one likes to hear it when someone’s blowing on that hot cup of tea.
    • Turn sound notifications off when teleconferencing. Nothing is more annoying than talking about something really important and then hearing the “brush-knock” 5 times while other people are sending messages.
    • Be aware of your surroundings during video meetings. People can see what’s happening in the background no one wants to see your kids crash the meeting!

    Be flexible and support your employees

    It’s a stressful time and anxiety is high for most families. Schools are closing as well as daycare centers. Be flexible with your employees’ time and be empathetic when situations arise that require them to attend to their family needs. Your support as a business owner and employer is needed now more than ever.

    Encourage workers to stretch, exercise, and go outside more during the work day. According to the CDC, taking care of your body is one of the best ways to combat stress. Some helpful tools:

    • Headspace – An online tool that helps guide people through a more mindful approach to being happier and healthier
    • Breath2Relax (free for iOS and Android) – Listed as a “portable stress management tool” that provides information on the effects of stress and helpful instructions on breathing exercises that will help reduce stress
    • Stop Breathe and Think (free on iOS and Android with subscription content) – Another app to help users learn to meditate, check progress, and explore activities that will help “create space between your thoughts, emotions, and reactions”.
    • Colorfly is another great resource for color therapy. By coloring on the app, it helps free your mind from stress, reduces anxiety, and gets your creative juices flowing.

    Seek financial assistance if you need it

    Small businesses impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for disaster loans, sick leave wages, unemployment insurance, and more. You can learn more and apply for disaster assistance loans at the Small Business Administration.

    The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service have extended the filing deadline for tax returns to July 15, 2020. This will give a bit of payment relief to individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Keep your marketing engine running

    As sales become impacted by social distancing and delays in global logistics, its understandable cashflow tightens up and difficult business decisions need to be made. This usually equates to cuts in marketing.

    Not sure what to do with your marketing efforts during COVID-19? We’re encouraging our clients to take a step back and evaluate how the decisions they make now will impact their business long term.

    Marketing will still be key to reaching your customers and keeping your business front of mind. With millions of more people online working from home or trying to escape from their daily life, this could be an opportunity for you to reach more people with online advertising or search optimization.

    We’re here to help

    We’re offering free digital marketing consultation for businesses affected by COVID-19. If you’re not sure where your digital ecosystem stands, contact us. We’ll be happy to check things over and find opportunities to help you succeed during these uncertain times.

    Regardless of the situation you’re in, please be safe, practice social distancing, and stay healthy.