What tradies can learn from New Zealand’s drastic lockdown
This week, Metropolitan Melbourne moved to Stage 4 Restrictions — the world’s strictest lockdown. As a state of disaster is declared, Melbournian tradies are among the business owners coming to grips with what it all means. Whether or not you’re directly impacted by the six-week shutdown, these measures have prompted a mix of emotions in everyone.
While feeling angry, scared and worried about the future is perfectly normal right now, what can we learn from the experience of New Zealand tradies, who endured an alert level 4 lockdown earlier this year? In this article, you’ll hear from New Zealand’s Carly and Hayden Butler, from Butler Electrical, who share eight positives of having enforced downtime.
1. Special family time
The constant stream of phone calls puts a huge strain on tradie families. With the phone ringing less in lockdown, Carly and Hayden focused on having a family routine to reconnect. For example, going to work for an hour, morning tea, family walk, lunch together, more work, afternoon tea, playtime, family dinner and chill out in the evenings. Kids feel your stress too. If you’re tense and wound up, they’ll feed on it.
2. Chance to reset for life and business
Work restrictions mean you can spend the time off prioritising your needs and wants in life and business. It’s a chance to reset for the future. For Carly and Hayden, that’s meant making sure Hayden continues to be home for family dinner/bedtime.
3. Focus on health and fitness
Now you have the “time” you’ve always craved, try and make the most of it. Even though your mind will be racing as you head into lockdown, focusing on your physical and mental health will go a long way. Wouldn’t it be great if you emerge from lockdown fitter and healthier than ever before?
4. Consolidate liabilities
Go through your insurances, payments, subscriptions etc. and ask yourself, “Do I really need this?”, “Can I put that on hold?”
Make sure you protect yourself, your business, and then your staff. Bear in mind, lockdown can be cause for contemplation for your employees, who may choose to move on once the restrictions have lifted. Think about different scenarios in your decision making in regards to staff support.
5. Communication with customers
For Carly and Hayden, this was interesting. In contrast to some businesses, who bombarded Facebook, Instagram and inboxes every second day, they contacted their main maintenance customers by phone and told them they were available for emergencies only. Then, they posted a couple of interesting things they were doing in lockdown.
Carly and Hayden ramped it up in line with the easing of restrictions. Although they’re super busy now, they note it took two to three weeks for people to assess what the economy was looking like and how their jobs were going before launching into renovations. Be prepared. Your customers will have six weeks at home and will have a list of alterations ready to go.
6. Tradie health and wellbeing
When you’re able to get back into the swing of things, don’t jam-pack your schedule too quickly. Remember, you’re tradies can’t be at work with any COVID-19 symptoms — and will be more susceptible to illness after being in the confines of home for an extended period of time.
According to Carly and Hayden, the New Zealand lockdown changed people — some for the good, but mostly in a negative way. People become less tolerant, less patient with timeframes, less polite in their conduct, and mostly, it’ll have nothing to do with you or your business. Be compassionate without being a pushover, as the market adapts to life on the other side.
8. Be wary of media
You just need to get on with it and get through the six weeks as best you can. Steer clear of mainstream media and social media, where possible. Instead, play music as background noise and watch only one bulletin a day.
How is your trade business responding to COVID-19? Whether you’re in lockdown in Melbourne or navigating the new normal, if you’re stuck not knowing what steps to take, get help with our FREE resources, including videos, templates and how-to guides targeting trade business fundamentals.