The COVID-19 outbreak has meant we’ve had to move fast and make important decisions with extraordinary frequency. As each new day passes, we have to be more accustomed to dealing with the unknown.
While the situation related to COVID-19 in New Zealand is vastly different to a large number of other countries, it would be foolish to get complacent. After all, we are a part of a global community and what is happening in other parts of the world has a knock-on effect, even for businesses who are not involved in international trade.
The past few months have proven that our “business-as-usual” can change rapidly, especially given the resurgence of COVID-19 in New Zealand this month.
We only have to look to our neighbours across the Tasman to get an appreciation for the damage that can be caused by a sustained period of dealing the virus. Our between states. A large number of their Melbourne based staff have not been able to work at their Support Office since March 2020.
Closer to home we have growers and customers who are feeling uneasy about the future.
With so much uncertainty it is difficult to plan, however, it's important to direct our energy towards what we do know and think about the future to help us prepare for what may lay ahead.
By this I mean be proactive. Sometimes planning for worst-case scenarios can put you in a good place to make reasonable decisions for your business.
Draw on past experiences to help cope, seek advice from trusted advisors and tap into the information available to help to manage the new challenges brought about by the pandemic.
An obvious challenge facing our industry is the availability of skilled labour, especially as many in our industry head towards the busy summer season. We know there will be a reduction in workers from off-shore, so now is the time to plan for what that looks like in your business.
Clear and consistent communication is a powerful business asset during uncertain times. Responding to your people and business partners transparently and with respect will remove confusion and ensure everyone is pulling in the same direction. Moving forward, all businesses need to be firm when it comes to the health of our people. If they are unwell or showing signs of illness, insist they do not come to work.
Everyone should also consider how to handle ongoing outbreaks and put plans in place to imbed resilience into your business.
Now, more than ever, it’s important we all work together. Keep in touch with your contacts at MG, continue sharing information and seek advice.
Peter Hendry - CEO