Getting Back to Work Safely: Business Brew Work-From-Home Edition #2

The June Business Brew focused on a conversation about getting employees back to work safely after working from home. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused, among other more tragic things, lots of adjustments and changes for employees, families, communities, and cities. 

Gretchen Renz from Bernardo Wills Architects brought her 28-years of experience at Bernardo Wills Architects in Spokane to the conversation. As the firm has grown from five people to 40, Gretchen has progressed from receptionist to business manager.  She holds a B.S. in Accounting from Western Governors University and has primary responsibility for the operations and business strategies of the firm.

You can watch the full video of the Business Brew Work-From-Home Edition #2 below, but here are the main takeaways from the conversation. 

  1. Before bringing your team back into your business, make sure you survey the employees. Find out what their concerns and worries are before you make any changes. 
  2. Create a plan for cleanliness and sanitation in your workplace. In addition to local or state regulations, consider the results of the survey as you formulate your workplace cleaning and sanitation practices. 
  3. Internal communication is key. Whether your team will continue working from home or returning to the office, ensure communication best practices as a way to keep everyone on the same page and keep things moving. 
  4. Consider the future and what changes will stick and what changes will return to pre-COVID normal. A lot of opportunities have arisen as a result of pivoting for COVID-19. Make sure you’re open to new ways of doing business.
  5. Create emotional space for your employees, whether they are returning or staying at home. Make sure it’s ok for your team to not be ok. 
  6. Similar to creating emotional space, extend grace to your team. When they aren’t ok, be flexible and offer support. Remember, they’re likely not only working from home but also responsible for being a teacher to their kids. 

The Business Brew Podcast – Making Hold Time Worth the Wait The Business Brew Podcast

On August 6th, 2020, Staci Clary joined Business Brew to talk about the importance of the customer experience as it relates to phone greetings, on-hold messaging, voicemail best practices, and how to handle online chat. Staci Clary was 12 years old when she began working for her dad in his pizza parlor. She was quick to notice that the little things brought her the biggest results. Staci continued working in pizza parlors through high school, eventually earning enough money to graduate with a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Gonzaga University. After graduation, the newsroom was her next step, then she married and started a family. A few years into her family, a friend introduced her to INPHO Information On-Hold, a business that provides hold messages that entertain callers, which keeps them holding longer. She thought, "Producing original on-hold soundtracks that replace silence or horrible music is the perfect combination of my skill set. The soundtrack gives customers the attention they deserve, and business owners don't lose phone calls!" Now, 29 years later, Hold On Now, Inc. works for over 500 companies throughout the U.S., and over 10-thousand customers per day hear her productions. Staci is an optimist and known in the community as a connector of people. She is seen regularly on the local PBS station as an on-air Pledge Host; she is also a voice actor, community volunteer, board member, and local Chamber Agora Award Nominee and semi-finalist. You will find her working a lot, and when not, outdoors as much as possible, enjoying the four seasons the Pacific Northwest naturally offers. Fun facts: Staci loves coffee, drinks soda water like it was the best thing ever invented, and enjoys red wine. You will observe her talking and moving fast, exercising every day, and spending time with her favorite people on the planet; her family & her two dogs. Oh, and her favorite food is pizza. Featuring music from ***** Business Brew started as a simple idea—just coffee with a business expert. Business owners and entrepreneurs could gather around that expert and then ask questions and get answers in real-time. The agenda and structure of Business Brew was designed to be simple and meant to inspire a natural conversation. It was an informal gathering created to support the small business ecosystem in the Spokane region. Typically, we met the morning of the first Thursday of the month at Fellow Coworking in Downtown Spokane. But as you know, things aren't typical right now. In May of 2020, Business Brew, like many things, had to shift gears and we switched to an online format meeting on ZOOM and then broadcasting on Facebook Live. One of the silver linings was that each Business Brew was recorded. This podcast is the result of that shift.
  1. The Business Brew Podcast – Making Hold Time Worth the Wait
  2. The Business Brew Podcast – Getting Back to Work Safely
  3. The Business Brew Podcast – Photography and Videography on a Budget

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