Episode 8

Pivoting Out of COVID - How The Hell Do We Do It?

"Every time our habits change, there is [a] thought process that goes into that and [...] a stress level that goes in along with that [change]."

The pendulum of the Covid pivot is swinging back; Now what? Change is constant and many businesses are facing big changes in Liability, Profitability, and Compliance. This week the UFMB crew discuss their experiences with the changing business environment and expectations of society.


In this episode: Chris "Jinx" Jenkins, Robyn Sayles, Kathleen Seide

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Season Two of Unfuck My Business is sponsored by Seide Realty. Visit them at whystpete.com and let them unfuck your real estate experience.

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Below is a rough transcript for your convenience. It’s not perfect because we want to spend our time unfucking your business, not unfucking this transcript.

Transcript
Kathleen Seide:

Hey, this is Kathleen. And when I'm not unfucking businesses here on the podcast, I'm unfucking real estate over at whystpete.com.. My company is Seide Realty and we are excited to sponsor this episode.

Intro:

This is Godriguez is from Godriguez Art and you're listening to Unfuck my business, no bullshit advice for business owners who want to be resilient as fuck. Now let the unfuckery begin!

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

What's up unfuckers. We're going to talk a little bit about COVID today and, , as we're starting to return back to normalcy, part of unfucking, your business is going to be, , about how you deal with COVID moving on through the rest of it. Before that though, I am going to mention that this episode is sponsored by Seide Realty.

Those of you all know Kathleen Seide as part of our community is an awesome, awesome person to do business with. If you're trying to buy a house in Pinellas county or Alachua county definitely give her a shout at Why St. Pete that's W-H-Y St. Pete S-T-P-E-T-E.com Seide Realty.

But let's talk about, let's talk about COVID. The way we operated before COVID won't necessarily be what works as the world recovers. I mean, that's, that's just fundamental. We all know this . For my company, we have basically gotten rid of our office. We're a hundred percent remote now that's going to be the case for the foreseeable future. We've seen some businesses crash and burn.

We've seen some other businesses explode during that time and businesses that grew because of COVID and some of the lockdown procedures and all the rest of that are now starting to struggle, you know, so we're seeing the flip side of that as well, that as the world opens back up, certain companies that niched out, in providing services around that social condition are now sort of struggling to find what their next, you know, sort of move forward is going to be.

Clubhouse is one of those ones that immediately comes to mind. But I want to talk to, we've got my co-host and show runner, Robyn Sayles with us, of course. Say hi, Robyn.

Robyn Sayles:

Hello? Hello?

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

And my favorite realtor, Kathleen.Seide.

Kathleen Seide:

Hey there, how you doing?

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

I wanted to talk about a few key questions in planning for your business, and then maybe just get some of y'all's general thoughts on, you know, how you think your particular industry is going to be effected by this change back to whatever the new normal is.

So to speak. One of the things that I've heard a lot about a lot of conversations with folks about is vaccine policies and whether or not your company will have a vaccine policy. And the question specifically, are you allowed to ask your employees if they have been vaccinated? So from a legal perspective, to answer that definitively yes, you are nothing in HIPAA or ADA or anything along that line prevents an employer from asking what are called worker readiness questions or work status questions.

And those are things like, you know, that are relevant to the job situation and or safety. For example, can you safely lift a 50 pound box? That is a question that will reveal some health things about you. If you say no to it, but it's a, it's a work status readiness question that's relevant to whether or not you can actually perform the services and things like vaccination status very much fall in under that.

Now that being said, given that we're a fully remote company, we don't have any hard vaccine requirement or anything along that line in our company, we certainly encourage, you know, our, our employees and team members to, to become vaccinated, um, especially given the greater social good that that helps contribute to.

But, , what about y'all? Do you, you know, you both are in sort of mixed environments where there's not necessarily an employment team around you, but you may potentially be engaging with the public. What are y'all's approaches for a vaccine policy

Robyn Sayles:

It is for sure a mixed bag for me. Primary job is to be in rooms full of people.

And so now I have to figure out how to ask the people who want to hire me to come stand in front of their room full of people. Am I going to be safe in that room full of people? So it is hasn't come up yet, but it's on my list of how do we navigate this conversation? So far as projects are sharing the role back in, for me, so far, things are still virtual or, or hybrid where I might be meeting with someone one-on-one.

And most of the people that I'm working with so far are volunteering that information without me having to ask like, Hey, you know, Robyn, can we meet in person? Just so you know, I'm fully vaccinated, you know? And I just think this meeting would be more effective if we were meeting together, one-on-one in person.

Even before all of this, even some of my local coaching clients would choose to meet virtually just for convenience. If I don't have to get dressed and get in the car and go anywhere, I can just hop onto zoom and have this coaching call with Robyn and then go back to whatever else I've got going on.

Right. So I haven't seen an impact and it hasn't become an issue on the coaching side, but I am anticipating, and I am gearing up for navigating these conversations for public events. For in-house corporate events and trying to figure out how to work that into the contract. I will say what has come up tangential to this is negotiating prices for virtual presentations.

Like it ain't that much. It ain't that much cheaper just because we're doing it online. Right. Just cause it's not feasible to get a room full of people together, or it doesn't make sense because we're not fully recovered from this pandemic yet, for me to fly up, to meet with your team, the same amount of work goes into the presentation, the facilitation of the event.

So really we're only negotiating the travel costs. And I have run into a couple of conversations where people just assumed that it was going to be significantly less expensive because I wasn't showing up in person. So that's, that's been an interesting unintended and on unanticipated part of this where they're still having virtual events, but they expect me to be cheaper because it's virtual.

I have to give them my ratio. It's this amount of hours of work to do one hour of facilitation. And that doesn't change whether I'm in the room, we're on camera, right.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

We'll dig into that a little bit more as we talk about remote work policy, because I think that's a really interesting thing to consider the impact of pricing, or maybe not necessarily the impact of pricing, but the impact of the perception of your pricing based on whether something is remote or in person.

I think that bears a little more discussion, but Kathleen, what are you seeing out there from a vaccination policy sort of effect in your business?

Kathleen Seide:

In, yeah, in real estate, it's an interesting combination of things because one, you're generally working with contractors, not employees on many different levels.

So there can be conversation, but maybe not a lot of control, especially if you have a listing who's coming into it, that sort of stuff. If we're entering into someone's home, there's a level of respecting the rules they're setting forth. Yeah. Creating part of your process in the intake of listings as what sort of standards do you want people to follow in your home?

Whether you're living in it or not. Right. What kind of cleanliness do we have hand sanitizer or not, and going forward, you know, as people's level of comfort changes, those discussions change, but then also with the customers, if you're showing properties to, up until now a lot of masks and social distancing.

But as that changes, those are conversations that you need to engage with rather than just, you know, and it's fine to say, like, my policy is this, you know, I have agents who have health conditions and that sort of stuff, and they've been very concerned. And so they. I will show vacant houses. I will open the door and let you go in.

I don't want to be an interior space with you at the same time. And it'll be for me, opening up dialogue with them as things change. And as people become more and more vaccinated, how does that affect your personal comfort levels? And you know, for me, it's a priority to one makes sure people are comfortable as they're going through this process and to make sure that they're safe going through this process.

So as we ,understand more and more about how these things play out and what transmission rates look like as more and more people get vaccinated, I think that informs a lot of them.

In a separate industry. And this is interesting. I didn't realize how relevant it was until we just, I just heard you talking, you both know, but the listeners probably don't.

My dad has been having some serious health issues and we recently have, he's been having home health care and just recently got into hospice. And the conversation around who's coming into the house has been very odd to me because my parents, there was a nurse that had come in and they found out she wasn't vaccinated just through conversation.

And that triggered a hmm. I guess we need to ask for this. And then in asking the companies that handle the scheduling, the companies are telling them, we're not asking our employees whether or not they're vaccinated. We don't feel like we have the right to. And we can't tell you whether the person we're sending you is vaccinated or not.

And my dad has like cancer growing in his lungs. He's got, you know, it's, it's a pretty serious situation. The one thing that they were able to to control for is telling them we won't have healthcare provider going from someone who has COVID into your house. Like, oh, well, thanks for that. Like, I didn't even know that was a possibility.

Right? So that's an interesting application for this because. You know, I really feel like they should be at least informed on whether their employees are vaccinated. And it seems like a reasonable thing to be able to ask and enforce in your own home. So,

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

yeah, I mean, it's, it's, it's weird that people have, I mean, even people who are in this business and in this space have this perspective that they're not allowed to ask these questions, it's just fundamentally untrue.

It will be interesting to kind of see how that plays out and in thinking about COVID policies, especially like, you know, social distancing and, and, you know, masking and all the rest of, , the, the steps that have been taken along the way. I know that in real estate, there used to be a, I don't know if I would call it a policy, but a habit of having clients literally ride with you in your vehicle to drive around to various home viewings.

You know, and I know that that there was a move away from that over time for general purposes of like safety and all the rest of that. I mean, is it safe to assume that COVID pretty much killed that practice forever?

Kathleen Seide:

I think so. Um, I believe there's some agents that want to do that again, just to, they feel like it strengthens a relationship.

Personally, I've never done it, , for various reasons, but including, you know, auto liability. And I think it's really important for people to have a little bit of space between each house they see. So they can process that in their own time, before they have a conversation around it and start comparing it to other things.

So, you know, for me, it's never been part of our process and I encourage our agents not to do it, but I feel like there'll be agents that go back to it. I just, I agree that it won't be prevelant.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

So let's swing back around and, and talk about the remote work thing a bit. And I think that that, honestly, that may end up being a, a pretty significant portion of this episode because it's one of the most fundamental changes that we've seen more than anything else, over the last 14, 15 months. The idea that companies or couldn't operate fully remotely is put to the test and shown to be a lie. At least for the companies where that's, you know, a feasible capability. Obviously you're not going to be able to, you know, engage in fine dining remotely or something along that line.

But companies, you know, who provides services, especially digital services companies who are, cloud-based all have the ability to work remotely. And that's been an ongoing conversation for some time. Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of WordPress famously or Automatic, the company that runs WordPress. Famously completely closed their San Francisco offices.

They said they saved something like $10 million a year because they had a 300,000 square foot campus that was empty. It was a ghost town all the time. Most of their developers when given the option preferred to work in their own environment where they felt comfortable and all the rest of that. And I know that in a lot of companies, there's this sense that if you don't have direct oversight of the, your workers, That maybe they're not going to perform as well, or, you know, this need for sort of a micromanagement control kind of thing.

And, you know, I, I know in our company we fundamentally are performance-based. We have deadlines. There are tasks that need to be done by a certain amount of time. You know, you're expected to be able to deliver your work in a timely fashion and be available through whatever digital communications tools you use to work with and collaborate with your, your fellow teammates in order to get that done. And as long as those goals are being met, as long as your teammates are able to find you and communicate with you in a timely fashion for the things that they need, I don't really feel that any additional oversight is actually critical. Not at, not an in-person oversight.

Now, obviously that doesn't work for home showings either. Right. But yeah. Are, are there portions of your business where you found that you were able to. Either work from home or something more so than you were before. Like are virtual showings becoming more popular?

Kathleen Seide:

Yes they are. And especially because there's such an influx to Florida from other states right now, So I've had several customers that are out of the area customers and their showings were virtual before they, you know, until they actually came down for an inspection or to do the final walkthrough depending on the internet.

So in, in Tampa area, Internet's good enough. I can do a live like video chat and walk through the house with them, , sometimes out in the country in Alachua or whatever, we'll do a video and then post it because. You know, either timing or just, I want a better video quality for them. So that's definitely a thing.

There's been a shift. And I think it's shifting back now to closings being only the people that are actually signing the paper being present. So, you know, a year ago it started being that I wasn't even allowed, you know, they, they didn't want me in the room, not I wasn't allowed, but they, you know, they didn't want extra people there.

So it would be a preliminary review of things like normal. And then, Hey, I'm available for calls. If you have questions during your closing, , which leaves people a little, I know they, they like that, the presence and that the person that they trust in the room, but it seemed fine. Nobody complained and you know, everybody understood because of the situation.

So it'll be interesting how that moves forward. You know, I've seen a lot more virtual closings in the last year, just because like, they're like, why do I need to go in to sign this paper even, you know, just send it to me digitally and then we're done. So, you know, it'll be interesting to see how that shifts back and whether people go back to being in the closing office, or if they accept and are maybe pushed by the title companies to do it more virtually.

One other thing that I've had a conversation around recently. So a friend of mine works for one of the large financial institutions that are based in Tampa. And we were talking about this because exactly what you were saying. I'm having this conversation around office space, being closed, saves the money.

You don't need this oversight. And after a year of figuring it out, you realized you don't need to nitpick your employees. I hope. So why go back into the office? And, she was talking about, things kind of outside of that. So, you know, it's difficult, especially on a large scale, I suppose, to, to build culture and, and create that sort of environment and, comradery that you need when you have tens of thousands of employees. Right? So they're actually going, I think it was last week, they were starting to go back into the office. So people are back in the office three days a week in that company. And it's for reasons like that, it's for those little collaborations that you get by serendipitously bumping into somebody and having a conversation in a hallway that just doesn't happen organically, unless, you know, you're really heavily using some of the tools that we use to chat, you know, in chat rooms and stuff like that.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

Robyn, have you seen an increase in, in, you know, companies who have transitioned to fully virtual interactions to some degree that, that you're servicing in your space?

Robyn Sayles:

Absolutely. Especially for corporate workshops, anything that's done is being done virtually. For anyone else, who's an outside contractor coming into corporations. It helps to get familiar with a variety of online platforms, everything from WebEx to Adobe connect to various iterations of zoom and beyond.

Unfortunately, I don't always get to dictate what platform I'm doing these things on. So I am seeing a lot of that. And also for conferences. There's been a necessity to move online for certain types of conferences and certain types of conferences lend themselves to moving online well, others don't. And so I've, I've seen some great digital transitions for conferences and events and some less than great transitions.

The platform will only take you so far. Um, and to Kathleen's point about building culture, I mean, that's a big part of attending these types of events is the culture and the connections that are. Doing any of that type of stuff virtually requires. And this is what I think a lot of people don't realize doing any of that stuff virtually requires a very different set of skills than the skills it takes to do that stuff in person.

And so that's a big shift that I'm seeing is people learning and recognizing that they need a different set of skills in order to effectively facilitate this stuff in a digital environment. But it can be done really well. The combination of right facilitation and right platform can make for a really engaging and fun fucking online event.

Online events and meetings don't have to be boring. And then I challenged the notion that you have to have people in person in order to build culture. But again, they think that because they don't have the set of skills, it takes to be able to do that in a digital situation.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

And I wonder if you know, my role at Symphony has always been Chief Digital Officer.

My focus is digital transformation and making sure both internally and externally that we're using technologies to the best of our ability that we have a free flow of conversation, both internally and externally. You know, these, these are all sorts of things that fall under my purview and in helping to shape how we facilitate these things within our organization.

But I wonder, you know, there's a lot of companies out there who may be able to do more things remotely than they've done in the past, but just simply don't have the skillset because they've never had to facilitate those kinds of things. I imagine if you are, um, you know, walk in the office and, and fist bump, everybody kind of leader, you know, that the idea of transitioning to virtual daily stand-ups seems a little bit less like human than, you know, because I like one of the things that I've found is we actually are much more efficient in our meetings on zoom or these platforms than we are in person. There's this tendency to sort of side chats, sidebar conversation, and hang out before the meeting for five or 10 minutes in the conference room and hang out after for five or 10.

Whereas when you're getting online, , and jumping on a meeting platform, it feels like the meeting is a little bit tighter because you're only trying to have the camera focus on you when there's something actually important for you to say. Overall, total conversation in meetings has reduced significantly, but that doesn't seem to be like a reflection of the important things, not being said as much as extraneous sidebar conversation going away. And I think that a lot of, a lot of leaders, if they really put some time and effort into experimenting with growing to become a better online conference facilitator, they might really be impressed with some of the efficiency gains that they get.

So let's talk about, you know, when, when do things change, we've got various mixed guidance at various levels of government on what things are safe to do, when, and how, and all the rest of that. But I've seen, you know, in the last couple of weeks,, as Florida's begun to open up. Well, I mean, I suppose more than begun, the governors essentially said, yep, there is no other, you know, restrictions in place or anything else.

And so there's been a lot confusion in my mind, out in the marketplace. Some places are still enforcing various levels of policies. Some are. There seems to be a big delineation between nationally or corporate owned businesses, still maintaining fairly strict policies. Whereas a lot of mom and pop shops or locally owned businesses have been quick to just stop doing it.

I don't know how much of that is cultural or political, or just a matter of expedience when you're a smaller business. Sometimes these things cause conflicts, additional costs, slowdowns, some inconveniences that smaller businesses may not be as financially able to keep up on a regular basis as well.

If you're a, you know, a small local cafe with a three to 5% total net margin, which is not uncommon at all in the cafe space, the cost of doing full dining room sanitisation and you know, 500 masks. So week for your workers and such could drop that down to 2 to 3%. You know, I imagine that some of these folks have really been sort of waiting for the moment that they could cut that out, to try and restore some level of profitability.

And I've seen a couple of local business owners on Facebook and such. One in particular stands out a local bars. They said that may was their first month to be profitable since March of last year. , because they were getting to the place where they have the traffic in, they weren't having to do all these extra things, you know?

So I think the conversation is much more nuanced than, you know, social media or various news organizations would have you think, but, you know, looking around what's your experience been as far as seeing the varying levels of, of current, , COVID prevention techniques and businesses, and what are your thoughts on your comfort level with those levels of preventions in various businesses.

Robyn Sayles:

I love that you asked this question. I love that we're having this conversation. I only wish that when more people were having this conversation, we wouldn't stay focused on the rules and the profitability. I think that's important. I think some smaller businesses are dying to get profitable again. I want everyone to weigh the liability costs. So the benefit of the corporations is they're always focused on risk and liability. HR is human resources, but it may as well be called liability resources. Nowadays, HR is job in these large corporations is to keep the company out of legal trouble.

Right? So these rules may seem cold and in emotional to the employees who are like, How come, I still have to follow these rules when everybody else is opening up. Well, it's to keep your company out of legal, hot water. Right? And so I worry about the smaller businesses that are rushing to open things up and rushing to discard the masks without thinking about, are you prepared for the liability and the legal ramifications should something go wrong as a result of that? So I can't, I'm, I've been married to my husband for 20 years now. And his whole worldview is focused on risk mitigation and it's, it's made its way into my brain. And so the part of me wants to just go, woo. But I can't, I'm still looking over my shoulder. I'm still concerned about the people who were standing too close to me.

I love the fact that I didn't get any colds or flus this year. You know, so I'm going to be making a different set of choices than some of the other friends and family around me. Right. I'm still going to be harboring some extra precautions. And so I think we have to remember that all of the people behind these decisions are human beings who are all weighing their own set of risks and fears and liabilities and such.

And you know, you can't go storming into that local bar going, "how come you're still making me wear a mask?" They're trying to protect you, motherfucker.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

Kathleen,

Kathleen Seide:

I think that's an interesting point too, because you start to see people gravitating to the businesses that conform to what their level of comfort is.

Right? So it's not just, I'm used to going to shop here. It's this bar will give me these great drinks and this personal social interaction with social distancing, with open air. You know, whatever conditions make me comfortable or not. Maybe I want to be all crowded up on sweaty bodies. Right? Like those both happen and they're happening.

All right. But they're both happening and they're happening right now. And those crowds don't want to interact. Right. But they're, they're out there doing that. And they're, they're gravitating towards the businesses that are opening up in ways that they feel comfortable. I've seen a variety of things here just as you have.

Right. I was having lunch at a local diner, just down the street from my house the other day. And somebody stuck their head in and said, Do we wear masks here and they're like, yes, put on your mask, you know, from the back, like you could hear them echoing. And then, , I was at a restaurant last night and they weren't requiring any, they come and they seat you and you walk through and there no masks in the crowd, the dining room is crowded, right?

So it's this weird thing to get your head around and, and, you know, less as a business owner and more as a consumer, like I've been having conversations with people about the, the differences. How, how we process normal. And, you know, as every time our habits change, there's this thought process that has to go in to that.

And there's a stress level that goes in alongside that. And so as a business owner, I think it's really important to be cognizant of the fact that. You know, as people went into COVID, we all realized there was stress and we were talking about it. But now, as things are shifting, people are feeling a lot of stress, but they don't know why, and they're not really able to put their finger on it.

And I think a huge part of that is that as your habits change and you have to rethink every choice, do I feel comfortable wearing a mask here or not? And that goes through your brain. That's a level of stress that you're carrying with you until you get into a new habit and it becomes automatic again.

And so. I th I, I feel like a lot of people are running at a huge chunk of their capacity and there's just this emotional drain that they don't really recognize, or, you know, it's affecting the way that they're interacting with the world, without anybody really talking about it. Right now,

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

you touched on something there that, that we saw a lot of over the last year, and that was sort of this pervasive ephemeral sense of dread right.

You have this risk mitigation thing going on in your head all the time. And I think part of the reason that there was such a big divide in how people responded to the pandemic was that it was just easier to pretend to all wasn't real at all. Ecause then you just let go of that whole thing and you don't care.

Hey, it's all good. You know? , and it, it feels good to let go of that weight. And I know a lot of folks who have been, you know, especially folks who are tasked with the safety of their employees and, and, you know, folks in health care and all the rest of that. I know they're all looking to let that feeling go as well, you know, but at what point in time do we feel like that's okay.

And, and, and where do we get the information effectively to, to make those sorts of determinations? But, you know, it's funny that there's been talk about liability. I mean, Robyn, you, you, you mentioned that quite a bit. And, and when I'm talking with some of my business associates about, you know, opening public venues and such one of the conversations we have is, are you comfortable at this point in time that you're not going to have that local news story about 21 people infected in a super spreader event at my business?

And that's, you know, that's a huge, huge concern, but I think more and more, one of the things that I noticed is even myself, as soon as I saw that I was in a place where no one has massed at this point, that's the policy. I was instantly ready to let go of that and follow the same policy as well, just because I absolutely was like, oh, This breathe out moment of, okay, well maybe it's all fine here.

There's this, you know, there's these cultural bubbles that suddenly you get to drop that sense of dread as an instinct or a reaction or something along that line. And, you know, for someone who's spent the last 14 months being extremely careful in combination now with being vaccinated, I very much feel the emotional weight of that when I'm looking around.

Robyn Sayles:

And I hope that. Employers partners, contractors, freelancers. We are talking about protecting people physically, but to your point, Jinx, and to Kathleen's point earlier. I hope just as much care and thought and consideration is going into protecting our employees emotionally, because like, just now that statement you just made like, oh, when I see that everyone else has got their mask off, then I want to take my mask off too.

And my reaction is the exact opposite. Right. And we're going to get various reactions. We've put months and months of stress on people. That they're still working through. They're still processing the effects that that's had on their bodies and on their emotional state, people don't know what to do with their thoughts and their feelings.

People think that they're ready until they get out into the world and then have a panic attack in the middle of the Target parking lot, you know, because, oh shit, I'm not ready. Right. And I've seen countless stories already of people having panic attacks two days into going back to work, you know, and, and these are people who are unfortunately told you must come back to work.

Which is a shame on behalf of those offices. I get why they're making those decisions. But I don't know if they're really thinking about their employee's mental health and how everyone is going to need different levels of reintegration. It's a weird analogy, but it's the best analogy I can think of right now and all the pet rescue people out there, I think will instantly understand this when you rescue a feral animal, a feral dog, or a feral cat, or when you rescue a cat or a dog out of an abusive, you know, puppy farm situation or a dog fighting situation, they've been socialized for so long to think of the people who quote unquote take care of them in a certain way. It takes some time to reintegrate them into the world of how it's supposed to be, what it's like to actually feel safe.

Right. It takes a lot of time to get these animals reintegrated into a safe environment. And I think we need to give people that same amount of care and space. There are some of us who are trying to figure out how to reintegrate into quote unquote normal society. When we know still don't feel safe, we still don't feel normal.

You know? And so I think we can talk about the physical aspects. We can talk about the liability aspect. But I just want people listening this to know that like, if your head's still all fucked up and you still don't feel safe out in the world and you can't quite understand why you are not alone and it is okay to ask for help from your employers and your friends and the people around you to help reintegrate you to a place where you feel safe operating in the world again.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

I could not agree more. I mean, it's, you know, it's just, it's really notable. How that, that whole emotional thing. And the, I think the, the analogy of the feral animal as a is a great analogy because you see that. Where they start off extremely avoidant, extremely sensitive to external stimulus and all the rest of that.

And then, you know, over time slowly begin to get into this comfort zone. After a year of watching people around me get extraordinarily ill. In some cases, you know, a few cases long-term stays in the ICU and in one case intubation. It was a long, terrifying period of worrying that people who are close to me were immunocompromised.

If I didn't die from it, I could pass it onto them and kill them for it. And the whole response of, well, you know, it's only going to be old people who were affected by it. Like, I mean, that's. That was so fucking callous as a response. It was like, okay, well we'll just let all of our grandparents die.

That's cool. You know, that, that was part of the whole aspect of it was seeing the sort of culture of, of callousness develop around. And, and I absolutely felt the emotional impact of that as well. I mean, it just fundamentally weighed me down. I can't recall the number of times I posted on Facebook.

Like please people, can we just show a little consideration? Is it that difficult to wear a fucking mask? But, you know, one of the reasons that that was all the case was because there's a lot of confusion in the messaging that people are getting from various sources of messaging, you know, whether it's government or news or health departments or things along that line, we just really had a poor and inconsistent information flow about what should be done and what best practices were and all the rest of that.

And I, and I think that's one thing that, you know, as we move into the, the, the wrap up portion of this episode, I think we should talk about that because in your business, the biggest problem is going to be, if you don't have some clearly established and documented plan or policy, You can't just be shouting things out on slack once a week on what the current policies are.

You need to really have some clear guidance for your organization, you know, and especially if you are still doing business in person, if you're requiring people to come to the office, if you're requiring people to interact with the public as part of their job or something along that line, You really fundamentally need some clear leadership based guidance for all of your team members on what they're expected to do, what they can do in response to the public responding poorly.

I mean, we've all seen the videos at this point of people, you know, acting as though they are literally being put in a concentration camp because they're being asked to wear a mask. Their cans are even, or something. I think it's really critical as a, you know, a call to action for, for this. The first step for your business has gotta be, make and publish a plan. It needs to be readily accessible to all of the people in your team. And if you engage with the public on a regular basis, I would recommend that that's also a public statement on your website about these. And I don't necessarily mean like one of those, you know, crazy red flashing pop-up banners or something along that line, you know, but just, you know, somewhere on the site, have it clearly linked where it can be referred to by your team members if they're having to engage with the public to show that this is what your business has outlined as it's COVID response policy and, you know, and then have their back. You know, if they are in a situation where a customer or passer-by or whatever the case, maybe as in conflict around those policies or regulations, then, you know, fundamentally make sure you're supporting them in alignment with those policies and processes.

The other thing is check your local regulations. It's highly variable. If you're in Florida, obviously we don't have any state level restrictions or guidance or policies in place right now, but that's not the case everywhere. And in some cases you may see that certain business classes or certain local municipalities have enacted their own ordinances, you know, unless you are wanting to go to court and be some sort of defining case law study on those ordinances. I recommend just follow them, whatever the case may be. And then finally, I think fundamentally you've got to do what's right for your business. And that's, that's not always obvious, but it is always your responsibility as business leadership. You've got to make sure that you're making the best possible decisions for your business. And sometimes that's going to mean, you know, making a balanced decision between your profit margin and your safety level, you know, whatever the case may be. You, you have to do what's right for your business. I am sincerely hoping over the course of the next six to 12 months that we get enough goods, statistical data for everyone to be comfortable, that we've gotten the pandemic well under control that none of these preventative measures are really necessary on a regular basis.

Although not getting a cold all year was pretty damn cool. I got to say, I can't complain about that, but that's it; Make a plan, check your local local regulations, and do what's right for your business and stay safe out there from all of us here at Unfuck My Business.

Hey, this is Kaplan Akincilar. What the fuck are you still doing here? I know why I'm here. I edit this motherfucker. If you've made it this far, maybe you can take what you've learned and make something of it. We got these links and resources and it's all in our show notes. So go check them out, go to UnfuckMyBusiness.com to subscribe to the show.

About the Podcast

Show artwork for Unf*ck My Business
Unf*ck My Business
No bullshit advice for business owners who want to be resilient as fuck.

About your hosts

Profile picture for Robyn Sayles

Robyn Sayles

HOST | SHOW RUNNER
Twitter + IG: @robynsayles
Profile picture for Kaplan Akincilar

Kaplan Akincilar

EDITOR | PRODUCER
IG: @kaplanakincilar
Profile picture for Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins

HOST
Twitter: @immrdubious
Profile picture for Kathleen Seide

Kathleen Seide

HOST
IG: @geekmermaid
Profile picture for Shea Jeffers

Shea Jeffers

HOST
IG: @stratgix