The founder of web analytics business Web Wonks says organisations working under lockdown should schedule weekly meetings and regular catch-ups to keep their teams connected and the lines of communication open.
Jeff McGregor, who runs Web Wonks with his wife and managing director, Jaye McGregor, said routine and accountability kept his business on track and working seamlessly during the first lockdown in March.
Auckland-based Web Wonks has been in business since 2012 and has a 15-person team, including five staff members based in Manila.
The North Shore business lost 60 per cent of its clients in the first couple of days of lockdown in March, but saw a resurgence about one month later - it had regained all of its clients by the time lockdown restrictions lifted almost two months later.
The business set up a private Whatsapp group when the team first began working from home and had a live Zoom call set-up to ensure staff working from home felt connected.
McGregor told the Herald the firm's mantra during lockdown was "we know our jobs so let's get on with it" and tried to carry on as normally as it could, which had worked in its favour.
It received more inquiries during the lockdown period than it did in any other month in its 10 years of business.
McGregor's tips for businesses that may be struggling or finding trading tough under lockdown restrictions was to explore ways to generate relevant traffic to your website and to make sure there is fresh and engaging content.
"Go back on databases that you have accrued throughout your time in business and activate that," he said.
"Look at your website traffic and ask the question; 'Is it performing - is it doing what I expected it to do'. There's a common miasma that 'My website doesn't work; I need to build a new website' but that isn't necessarily true - it may just mean that the users who come to the site are not performing the business action you deem relevant."
The Regional Business Partner Network was also a useful tool to help businesses with advice and support for growth, as well as digital enablement and HR coaching, among other services, he said.
Web Wonks came out of lockdown a stronger - and busier - business than it did going in.
McGregor partly attributed this to more businesses wanting to engage in online services as it became the only way to trade for a period of time under alert level 4.
But his team remaining on the same page and stepping up made all the difference, he said.
"Yes we came out in a stronger position, but I really put that down to the staff and team working together who have built a level of comraderie that transferred through to when we were back in the office again."
To thrive in a lockdown situation, McGregor said, build processes and make codes for the internal mechanisms of the business - this was extremely helpful and meant that there was less dependency on him as the owner to make all of the decisions.
It also meant less additional pressure on his shoulders during challenging times such as a restricted trading environment.
Web Wonks has four main teams; sales, insights, operations and middle management traffic.
McGregor said the business holds regular weekly 'WIP' meetings that have the same agenda each week; it reviews the previous week's WIP, looks at what needs to happen in the week ahead and actions that throughout the week.
Having this routine meeting meant there was continuity, and a chance for the team to catch up, which had proven particularly beneficial when there was a lot going on around you, he said.
"Pick half a dozen issues in your business - that are structural - and start to probe into it. It also gives staff the opportunity for feedback. It's simple, easy and yields great long term results."
McGregor said his business, like many others, were in a far better position now for the second wave of lockdown as they were more prepared and had the experience of having gone through it once already.
• Go above and beyond for your customers and staff, particularly in times of uncertainty
• Hold regular team meetings and catch-ups to ensure the communication channels remain open
• Have processes in place and trust in staff members to make decisions on your behalf
• Think outside of the box and about what you may need to change to thrive in the lockdown environment