This is where we are today. If we push aside much of the chatter and get down to the necessities in life that are food, shelter, clothing, health, family, communication and trust that rise to the top of the priority list. We tend to look at job and money as the root of concern, and reflect on how we miss social interaction and the trappings of consumerism, but that is a cover for the results of the absence of those components of our existence.
Let’s face it – restaurants, like almost every other type of business, are in deep, deep trouble. In the immediate – they are, for all intents and purposes – closed, leaving hundreds of thousands of employees without work, and without a paycheck. This equates to a level of fear that has not been part of our culture since the Great Depression. What people fear is a lack of food, loss of shelter, concerns about their health and the safety of their families, insufficient communication and communication that is not honest and complete. What can we do (we referring to those whom others depend on for solutions)?
There will be an increasing need for sources of emergency food to support a growing number of individuals and families that find their refrigerators and cupboards empty. If you have it – share it. Check in with your neighbors (by phone or email) and share your excess if they are in need. Contact those furloughed employees who live from paycheck to paycheck and do the same. Drop off dry goods to your local food pantry if you have more than you need. Food is an immediate need in times of crisis.
Let’s trust that landlords and banks will show empathy and defer or even forgive some payments in the immediate future. If not, we have an even bigger crisis on our hands. Help where you can while remembering that social distancing must still apply.
With time on your hands – take a look at your closet and if there are items of clothing that no longer fit, or have not been worn for quite some time – donate them! Someone can put them to good use.
With millions of Americans still without healthcare or poorly covered – there will be those who ignore the symptoms of Covid-19 and fail to take necessary precautions or even avoid emergency care if needed. If you are an employer who has recently told employees that their job is on hold – at least try to maintain their healthcare for a period of time. Others, who still may be working, may shy away from staying home to self-quarantine for fear of losing a paycheck – employers need to do what they can. And, by all means – call out those healthy individuals who ignore the shelter in place directives and in doing so endanger all of us in the process.
One of the hardest things to do during a biological crisis is to stay physically removed from family members. Since most households do have a computer or at least a smartphone – there are answers. FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom are available to help family members to stay in touch and do so with the aid of a visual connection. Separation is a very difficult think to accept and if not addressed can lead to depression and heightened anxiety. Employers should invest the time to guide their furloughed employees through the process of using these tools.
Ironically it is not the content of a message that is driving anxiety as much as it is the frequency and accuracy of the communication being offered. In the absence of trustworthy, accurate, and complete information from our government – there is an opportunity for operation owners and leadership to fill in the gaps. Develop a vehicle for relaying the RIGHT INFORMATION to your employees, friends, and neighbors. Talk with them honestly about what you know, how it impacts them, and how it impacts your company. Be frank, but be compassionate as well. If you haven’t watched the attached message from the CEO of Marriott Hotels, then I encourage you to click on the following. This is how the truth can be passed on to people with clarity, honesty, and empathy.
Remember – we are all in this together. Do what you need to do and understand what we are all going through. Help each other out as much as you can. This is the right thing to do.
“That is America. That is America. Those bonds of affection; that common creed. We don’t fear the future; we shape it. We embrace it, as one people, stronger together than we are on our own.”
PLAN BETTER – TRAIN HARDER
We are all in this together
Harvest America Ventures, LLC