The Business Community, What’s Our Role?


Despite the unprecedented 4 weeks of sunshine, nothing is the same. COVID-19’s destruction is deeply worrying. All that we care about is under threat, our health and jobs are at risk; and never have we experienced a global pandemic of this scale. It’s incredibly upsetting to hear about the grief and despair; and for many businesses, now working remotely from home, this also brings a feeling of being paralysed and frustrated. Hard decisions in the business community are having to be made by the minute, by the day.

Valuable key staff are being furloughed causing the restructuring of departments and of whole companies. We’re also having to create completely new finance strategies, at pace, to work out how staff and suppliers can be paid and fundamentally, how our businesses can survive.

But as the weeks unfold, and we get into the stride of needing to work (temporarily) differently, what is our role within the business community? Foremost, our overriding responsibility is to look after our staff, our communities, and to do all we can to keep safe and support those in need. For companies, this relates to the size and scope of your business and what you can achieve. At Glow, we have set up weekly, virtual Pilates sessions with a local trainer for the whole team. We’re doing what we can to support local businesses; buying chocolate gifts for Easter from Wickham’s chocolate shop, Confiserie Verdonk, using local restaurants for deliveries and purchasing gifts from local shops. Other Central South companies are also doing brilliant things for the community. Paris Smith solicitors, as one example I have seen on social media, this week, has been raising money for Southampton Hospital’s Charity via a virtual coffee morning. Nearly £700 to date!

As we have been adjusting, business for the last few weeks has, on-the-whole, taken a bit of a back seat. For me personally, my learning has been focused on being less rigid and less hard on myself, and on not trying to keep the same routine I had before. I’ve had to accept and adapt.

But as we slot into this new norm, we also need to start moving forward.

My belief is that it is our collective responsibility to keep the economy turning, to keep people in jobs and to be ready for when either the lockdown eases or we are asked to adapt to different restrictions. Waiting to review what will happen isn’t an option, and we certainly can’t just do nothing.

At Glow, we are striving forward with our own brand refresh (soon to be launched), we’re updating our website and writing copious blogs and content. We’re also helping clients with communication strategies, creating virtual CEO vlogs and submitting tenders. It’s not as busy as this time last year, but it’s ok, we’re achieving wins, even if small, every day.

For businesses as a whole – and as hard as it is – we need to learn to be at peace with ourselves in knowing that if we don’t work in the care or support sector, the best advice to practice is to follow the government instructions to stay at home; protect our NHS and look after our communities. And to assist in this, we need to do what we do best, business.

Similar to times of recession, now is not the time to pull back on projects, to move deadlines until ‘better times ahead’ or when things get ‘back to normal’ as we can’t possibly see when that is. Instead it’s critically important for the economy, our staff and communities that we recognise it’s going to be hard, but to take resolve in the knowledge that in challenging times the best ideas can and often do evolve.

So, this is a call to all in the business community, we have a job to do, and it’s our duty to carry on.

Lisa Lavis

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