By William Ng

With the movement control order (MCO) extended to a month now, at the top of everyone’s mind must be: how do we pay salaries and how do we keep the business afloat?

There is no short answer to this. But rest assured that the majority of employees out there are equally worried. No one is rejoicing over the ‘extra holidays’.

If you need to speak to your employees now to agree on a mutual agreement for lay-offs or adjustments to hours and therefore pay, this would be a good time to do so. Most employees will understand if the proposal is reasonable. Bear in mind that you cannot unilaterally alter the terms of employment; and again, most employees are aware of that. More so than ever, your employees are looking to you for leadership and direction, so make the right choices.

Have faith in your business and your clients. Most clients can wait, and will be happy to work along with you on new timelines. This is the time for transparency and honesty. What will kill your business is not the MCO but uncertainty. So get uncertainty out of the equation with new timelines and constant contact.

If you have got one, this is the time to execute that Plan B. If you don’t, you need one. ‘Wait and see’ is not a plan, no matter how deep your reserves are. There is no time to regret or be wishful. This is the time to be brutally honest about yourself and your business. If it’s not working, change.

Do not give up. And that’s very important. In times of crisis, you will feel that you are all alone. You are not. This is a difficult time for all businesses. Stay strong.

The author is group publisher and editor-in-chief of Business Media International, the owners of SME Magazine, HR Asia and Capital Asia


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