With the country all but shut down for the better part of two months, one of the main rallying cries we’ve heard repeatedly has been, “We’re all in this together.” But have we? While it is true that no matter where you live or work, the pandemic has wreaked havoc across the entire industry, depending on location, business have been affected differently. Some have had to close completely or greatly reduce their workforce, while others report that it has been business as usual for the most part, albeit somewhat slower.
As we move into the next phase, which involves re-opening in some states but holding tight in others, the differences in business will become even greater as that “all” in the rallying cry is going to become “partially.” Still, even if you live in a state where you are opening in Phase 2 or later, now is the time to think about what your business will look like as we navigate the new-yet-familiar post-pandemic world.
The Resi Talent Pool
For those companies who are looking to staff back up or hire some freelance employees to get through the work already on the books — and for those CI installers and sales pros who find themselves as free agents — we have introduced the Resi Talent Pool. The goal of the Resi Talent Pool is to bring these CI experts and shops together. Here is how it works:
- Free agent Installers and salespeople fill out the form.
- The participants are listed on the Resi Talent Pool page, which will be regularly updated with newer entries on the top and promoted on the site, in the newsletter, and on Resi’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.
- Interested shops can contact the free agents through their LinkedIn pages, or through the email address provided by the agent.
New Standards for Employees and Customers
Hopefully that will solve some of the staffing problems facing residential integrators right now, but, beyond hiring, the post-pandemic world will have a whole new set of guidelines for dealing with employees and customers.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers advice for businesses big and small on their website (www.cdc.gov/) that is constantly being updated. In fact, a few days before writing this, they added new recommended guidelines for business and employers, including:
- Conducting daily health checks
- Conducting a hazard assessment of the workplace
- Encouraging employees to wear cloth face coverings in the workplace, if appropriate
- Implementing policies and practices for social distancing in the workplace
- Improving the building ventilation system
Those guidelines are mainly for employees and customers that come into your space. Then there is the added CI wrinkle of going into people’s homes. The coronavirus has spurred many opinions and feelings, and it is likely you will not know how each customer has handled or experienced in the situation, so the best bet is to establish the same protocols for everyone to protect both your customers and your employees. That translates to face masks and gloves whenever you and your team are on site. It also means having some of the sales talks over videoconference. And handshakes will be out of vogue for the foreseeable future.
There is lots to be done if you are opening back up or are preparing to open back up. A great place to start is this month’s cover story — Henry Clifford’s “10 Ways to Revitalize Your Business,” which all can be implemented right now regardless of which state you are working in.