Nov 08 2020

Preparing for the Winter Ahead


(This column from Chamber President Wendy Birdsall appeared in the November 9 First Call e-newsletter to Chamber members)

The continuing pandemic has made us all examine best practices and adaptations throughout our everyday life. While we have made strides in some areas over the past eight months, we must also remember that the current situation remains evolving and the coming winter months could mean additional efforts are necessary to not only protect our businesses, but our community as well.

To prevent additional and prolonged disruptions, the business community needs to continue in our efforts to protect our employees, our customers and the public.

We must ensure that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) remains readily available at our businesses. Our efforts through and other avenues provide an excellent way for businesses to not only keep their inventories stocked but to support local providers as well. One lesson learned early in the pandemic was that some supply chains, no matter the sector, may not be as strong and automatic as previously thought—continued evaluation of supply chains is crucial.

We must also continue to utilize working from home capabilities where possible and look at ways to improve them. This includes potential software upgrades, changes to schedules and other ways to enhance this vital compliment to the traditional office setting. 

Each office should also look at either the continuation or implementation of a COVID-19 response team. Constant communication and cooperation with local health departments, elected officials and other agencies is crucial to staying up-to-date on what actions might be needed for reacting to another wave. Communicating a clear plan of action to employees and customers, which includes things like social distancing, mask wearing, proper hygiene and sanitization practices, can save a lot of headaches and confusion.

Mental health and wellness considerations are also paramount when it comes to ongoing efforts. Our normal way of life has been altered and because of that, we need to make sure resources are readily available to help employee and workplaces with mental health concerns. This also accounts for legal concerns, anxiety about employees returning to the workplace amid another wave and boosting employee morale.

It might sound cliché, but it is true—we are all in this together. We must learn from the lessons of the past eight months and adapt to what might be coming in the months ahead--I know we can do it.

-Wendy Birdsall, CCE, IOM
President, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce