The Actionable Futurist™ Podcast

S2 Episode 7: Advice for running a company or working in one during Covid-19

April 17, 2020 Andrew Grill Season 2 Episode 7
The Actionable Futurist™ Podcast
S2 Episode 7: Advice for running a company or working in one during Covid-19
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this special edition of the Actionable Futurist™ Podcast, we spoke with Dan Ziv, CEO of Touchnote, a digital company that is providing a creative way for personal communication which I think we’d all agree is needed even more during this very challenging 2020.

Dan runs a small company of 50 people, and we looked at how his company runs remotely, how he runs a company remotely and how his staff have responded to the challenges presented by the lockdown.

We also covered a range of topics relevant for employers of any size as well as employees such as:

  • Dealing with your team during lockdown
  • Changes in consumer behaviour during Covid-19
  • Why consumers want more meaningful ways to communicate
  • Changes in strategy post Covid-19
  • Disruption as a result of Covid-19
  • Business models now and in the future
  • Communicating and motivating staff during lockdown
  • Why efficiency and productivity is higher than ever
  • The need for the team to take breaks while at home
  • Redefining the work-home boundaries
  • Using a "clock-in / clock-out" system while remote
  • The "red cord" process to deal with major issues
  • Adapting agile processes when working remotely
  • Where agile does not work for remote teams
  • Key learnings with remote teams - smaller is better
  • What does the future of work look like?
  • Will working away from home become the norm?
  • Adapting your current work from home policies
  • The 3 types of employees and how to accommodate them
  1. Employees who want a clear separation between home and work
  2. Employees who are fine with the work from home life balance
  3. Employees who need flexibility depending on their life stage
  • Offering a menu of options for employees
  • In 12 month's time we will see the future of work really evolve?
  • How working from home changes your perspective as a manager
  • Getting work done as a CEO during Covid-19
  • Setting your own boundaries as a CEO
  • When work and home are the same place you need to force boundaries
  • Empathising with your team during lockdown
  • A global downturn will change business priorities
  • Benefit of hindsight - preparing for Covid-19
  • 3 things you can do this week
  1. Hoard cash
  2. Ensure your key employees are comfortable and secure
  3. Work hard on mental and physical health

This was a really eye-opening episode to record and I know you will find many practical tips in the episode. Why not listen while out exercising during lockdown?

For more on Andrew - what he speaks about and replays of recent talks, please visit ActionableFuturist.com follow @AndrewGrill on Twitter or @andrew.grill on Instagram.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Practical Futurist Podcast, a biweekly show all about the near term future with practical advice from a range of global experts, doubt you stay ahead of the curve. Every episode. Aunts is the question. What's the future own with voices and opinions that need to be heard? You'll host is international keynote speaker and practical futurist Andrew grill .

Speaker 2:

Welcome to season two, episode seven and lockdown edition of the practical futurist podcast. Today's guest is Dan Ziv who was the CEO of touch note, a digital company that is providing a creative way for personal communication, which I think we'd all agree is needed even more during this very challenging 2020 hi Dan and welcome to the show.

Speaker 3:

Hi Andrew. Thanks for having me.

Speaker 2:

So you're in the UK like me. How are you and your family dealing with the changes we've all had to make?

Speaker 3:

I think this has been a quite the shock and a change in behavior for everyone there on the , on a personal level and on a business level. Um, thankfully my family is fine and we all healthy. It's staying safe, staying well at home, enjoying some quality time together and learning, you know, the ins and outs of homeschooling for my seven year old, I'd never thought I'd be a math teacher and I never thought I'd do that every single day. And you know, that's an experience as well.

Speaker 2:

How are your teams dealing with the changes and when did you send people home?

Speaker 3:

So we were actually quite early at uh , sending people to work from home. I think we send people home a week before the official date. And what we did is we said, I know some people went through a testing phase where they tried this out. What we decided to do is actually make it voluntary. And we said, you know what, for people who feel uncomfortable coming into work , um, we are happy for you to work from home very quickly. We found that 60 to 70% of our , um, of our employees prefer to work from home because of the commute and taking the tube to work and so on. I think it's quite interesting also to consider that out of the 50 people in our company, we have 18 nationalities. Uh , we are in three continents. So we have really seen how this pandemic has impacted people back home as well. We have three Italians in the company and obviously when they heard everything going on at home, they were very much concerned about what would happen when it's comes to the UK . So , um, we, we could perhaps allow people to also respond as they saw fit according to what they were seeing on their local news back home and so on.

Speaker 2:

That's a really smart move. And the whole notion of people not wanting to travel in the office. I'm going to cover that in a minute because , uh , I think we're going to have people realizing that wild home isn't the best place to work. They don't always want to do that commute. Um, so I want to cover a couple of areas. Obviously your a digital and a physical business and I'll ask you about your business in a second. But so I want to talk about how companies that are listening to the podcast who have a physical and digital presence are preparing. As you know, I do a lot of talks about disruption and I think disruption is a great opportunity for change. So I want to talk about how you might be thinking about doing things differently once the restrictions are listed. But first of all for our listeners, you've got a really nice business. What it and what do you do?

Speaker 3:

So touch not as a creative platform for personal communication and what that means that we allow through our apps and our website to send the physical cards and other photo gifts straight from your phone using your own photos. So the lion's share of the traffic that we see as people we like to say Instagramming in real life, but through a physical presence. So you can imagine yourself taking a picture of you walking your dog , uh , and the one time a day you can leave the house nowadays or um, uh, maybe having a good time with the kids in the house. You take a picture. And then in today's world, if there's one thing that social media has really , um, taught all of us, it is to share photos, whether it's on Facebook and Instagram or other places. Another way to share photos, there's also in a more authentic and real intangible way. And that's where TouchNet comes out in the way that, you know, if you think about grandparents, nieces and nephews and just other people who might not be as active on social media, there is a huge, huge, huge audience for your own content as in physical form. And that's what we try to facilitate.

Speaker 2:

So your physical than a digital company. And I really liked the idea because even some of my close friends are not on Instagram. So I talk about photos I've taken , I said we haven't seen it and my parents back in Australia, clearly on, on Instagram. So I think it's a really interesting way of , of sharing those moments. So have you seen any changes in consumer behavior? Are they taking and sending more photos during this time? What's changed for you?

Speaker 3:

The interesting thing is that with companies like us, it's about education, right? And we want to go to our audience or to potential customers and say, listen, just as you use Instagram or Facebook or WhatsApp or email to send photos, here's another way which is tangible. It is more real, it is more meaningful. And this is something you want to add to your digital diet or to your communication diet. What happened during the , uh , covered 19 crisis is that this thing essentially turned on, it was turned over on its head. And today people are all locked down and they're all at home and they can't visit or see or communicate with their loved ones in the way they might want it . So they are actively looking for more meaningful ways to communicate, especially with the elderly that are more vulnerable during this time. So the education piece kind of went away and now our customers are flocking in saying, listen, this is something that we really think we need right now. So it's , it's a privilege to be able to offer the service at this time as a alternative for people , uh , who are looking for more meaningful, a tangible way to communicate.

Speaker 2:

I can't remember the last time I've received a physical postcard because we , we , we have, we default to doing it digitally. But in the same way, I can't remember the last time someone wrote me a handwritten note and if they did, I think I would really be quite surprised and I would actually probably notice that more. So I think probably now to get a a , a postcard through letterbox will be a lovely surprise from someone. But as a digital business, I mean you'll , you were ready for this because you have the digital processes and you obviously physical a way that you have to distribute things. But what are you thinking about now? So let's assume that we're your homeschooling for another month or so. What's crossing your mind in terms of how you might change your business with what you know has happened going forward and, and , and I don't want any secret sauce about your business plans, but I'm thinking again, everyone's at home now thinking when the shutters roll up, it won't be, we're rushing back to work and , and the pubs and the clubs and restaurants will fill up. There'll be a gradual thing. So what can we do to think about the changes that we can implement now in our business for later in the year?

Speaker 3:

So first of all, let's say Andrea , that if you haven't received your postcard through that at the box yet, it is my job to make sure that happens. And after this discussion, I promise you you're going to get your postcard for a long time. Uh, and the other thing I would say is that , um, I w I think the way that a business like ours, which is again, a small business is looking at this pandemic and this crisis and this time is really in two stages. There's everything that's happening during the actual lockdown and the, you know, the peak and the post speak of, of the pandemic. And then there's everything that would happen once people go back to us is a version of normality. And right now we are very much concerned with the absolute change in the behavior of customers. So it's so interesting because as I said before, we w we are constantly trying to teach and educate people about new behaviors. Right? Every app or every business is trying to get adoption. Well , what's happened is that people's behavior has fundamentally changed. They are at home with the kids. They're not going out as much. They're not going to the pub, they're not going into work. So everything has turned on its head and uh , things that you have never done before, suddenly you do everyday and vice versa. Things that you've done every single day like commute to work, suddenly you don't need that, I don't know , um , commuter app that optimizes your commute. So that has, that focus is very much where we are. Um, putting all of our eggs right now to say , okay, what has changed in our customers' behavior and how can we mean more, prove ourselves more and be there for the customers during this time. So for us , uh, cava 19 is an opportunity to be able to talk about why people should have , uh , an applique touch , not on their phone. Now, as you rightfully said, this is not going away, unfortunately anytime soon. Over the next we , we initially we thought Northview week lock down into one . I think everyone is coming to the realization that even after lockdown there's going to be a gradual return to a normality. So , uh, we over this time, what do we want to make sure is that people establish this as a behavior and they don't go back to the old ways of saying, you know what, I can send this a picture on a , on um , WhatsApp. I can see all the content on social media and I'm done with it. Not the fact that they are now thinking more about their loved ones, especially the elderly in their family is I think some, it's increasing the aggregate happiness and meaning and perhaps even connection between the families. And if we can facilitate a little bit of that and then continue that as a behavior, I think we would come out stronger out of this pandemic. Now from a business perspective, which I know your listeners are very interested in and of course you what we talk about a lot as well, the disruption here has actually happened from the other way round . It is the customer base and the behavior that has been disrupted due to all of these restrictions. So the company must adapt to that. Now following this disruption, there's going to be , uh , a widely discussed , uh , global downturn or some at least some macro shock to the economy. So for us, there are really two stages. There's everything that's happening during the pandemic and trying to talk about touch node and the relevance of touching it in your life right now, and then really preparing for a imminent downturn that would come after that. And what does that look like? So if people are going to go into a few months of frugality and perhaps , uh , shed off some of the , um, indulgences that they allowed themselves before, how do we position our product? As long as there's not an indulgence, it actually is something that is helping them communicate meaningfully with their loved ones, which you absolutely need in your life. If you think about a global downturn, you go down to the basics, right? If you were , God forbid, laid off, you're furloughed or you need to , um , cut back on costs. Um , you're , you start saying to your ma doing that mental math of, okay, what can they live with that ? And I think for companies like us, it's about proving our value where some w uh , the , um, the customer will say to themselves, you know what, I'm not paying as much as it's quite cheap and they're getting huge amounts of utility and value out of it. So I'm going to keep it over time. And that's all that the onus was on us to prove ourselves for that. How do you make money? What is your business model now and how will you have to change it going forward? And is there opportunity to generate new revenue streams with what you know now? So I think that's a really interesting question when it comes to touch note , because touch note has been around for 12 years and for the first 10 years was a classic eCommerce player. You'd come in, you'd a paper card and then , uh , you'd go off and you'd come back to send other cards . If you wanted to, and we did have a little bit of both bulk and buying with, you know, you can buy Cod packs and so on. But the lion's share of our consumer base was that your classic eCommerce. And about two years ago we started a pivot where we added another layer of business on top, which was the subscription model. And we currently have a membership service and that's through that membership service. We are um, creating a true win-win for the customer and for us. And essentially what we do is we say, you know what, if you want to send two cards a month, if you have that granny who is in Liverpool in isolation right now and you want to make sure you send a card a week or the fortnight , we will give you a plan to be able to do that. And those cars that you send in your plan will be the cheapest cards in the world. And in return for that, we obviously get the loyalty that comes with a membership service. So the win win that we have found, which was by the way derived from looking at actually user analytics and user behavior of our platform, is that if we create packs of cards that people can send on a recurring basis, we can actually create a true, truly unique service that customers would come in on a regular basis in, in an over this timeframe of the pandemic. And thereafter, this model has proven itself tremendously right now because people don't want to send constant cards. Think of yourself at home. You have five, five to 10 family members all around the world that are experiencing the same thing and you want to send them more than, than you know, a message on social media or messaging service. You can do that with us and you, when you try it once or twice, what we find is then , then you want to do it not necessarily on a daily basis, but three to four times a week. And the membership service allows you to do that at , um, unparalleled costs. So today, the average customer would pay anywhere between three to five pounds. So less than two cups of coffee and we'd be able to send cards and recurring basis.

Speaker 2:

So I want to talk a bit more about how you've , um , survive through, through the pandemic. I'm sure you had a level of contingency plans in place. I'm sure they had to be dusted often and improved. So most of you or all of your staff are working from home. How do you communicate? How do you motivate your staff? Is that , do you have daily calls, weekly calls? Are you constantly on chat? How are you running your business in isolation?

Speaker 3:

I have to say that on a personal level, I think , um, I was quite worried about moving from 100% on site to 100% off site , uh, within one day. And that's federal , like a very big transition. However, we decided to do it and I was proven wrong. Uh, the , the team has come together in a way that I never, never expected. Um, the efficiency level and productivity has remained high, if not higher than it was previously. And I think there are several reasons for that. First of all, I think that in a time, like in a time of crisis like this , uh , everyone comes together and tries to have power. Ultimately, as I said, we are 50 people in this company and everyone feels a sense , uh , an innate sense of ownership and responsibility. And when, you know, like a pandemic, this , uh , hits , um, I think everyone feels that they're happy that to be , to be working in a company like this and they are happy to have a job and they, they want to make sure the company survives it. So people have stepped up in a huge ways. People are working all hours and if anything on a weekly basis now I need to remind people to take their lunch breaks to, you know , uh , disconnect from their laptops. I am trying to force people not to eat in front of the computer. Uh, I think the fact that people are working from home right now and for so long creates , uh, a lack of boundaries between their work life and their private life. And I think it's really important and it's our responsibility as leaders in these companies to make sure that they do have that time off. It's so tempting to work 24, seven and God knows I do this on a regular basis. I can find myself working all hours. But it extremely important, especially when you have kids at home and so on, to be able to let go of that and say, no, actually I'm going to have you know , lunch with the kids and then come back to it when you need to. As far as the working process, we have a clock in clock out, which is working extremely well for us. So on Mondays I have a kickoff with all of my leadership team and then on the uh, on weekdays they start off the day with it . Essentially it's, it's a huddle in the morning where they talk about what they're going to do with this today and the evening they clock out with another huddle 10 15 minutes where everyone says what they've done. They've also, they talk about any bottlenecks that they have or work their way . They're pending at waiting for from other people. There's a , we have an ability to , um, quickly try to help out if there are any bottlenecks. One additional thing that we implemented , uh, and the heck , our COO introduced this a week ago, which was incredibly effective , uh, is what we call it, the red cord , um , process where, you know, just like , uh , those famous , um , how much fracturing plans there was the red cord that stopped the manufacturing line. Um, if somebody pulls it the red cord, we all jump on a zoom call or a , um, Google hangout together, all the relevant people and we'd discuss an issue. So if suddenly we see a bottleneck in a certain process or a deadline is missed or something like that, we all have the ability to come on and say, okay, what do we need to do? That huddling has become extremely effective because everyone essentially is on their screens and can press a button and join a virtual eventual discussion.

Speaker 2:

So it sounds like you're working in a very agile way and on a lot of listings will be doing already. So how has agile hat to adapt with people being deliberately remote for all of the teams?

Speaker 3:

So we implemented agile about a year and a half to two years ago in earnest in our development cycle. And so when the pandemic hit, to be honest, we almost did not change anything in our process. Uh, that was, you know, w and by weekly cycles like this, it , it lends itself to adaptability. And in situations like this, what we did have to change, and I think this is probably where scrum kind of wasn't necessarily built or agile, wasn't necessarily built for remote working like this, is that when you have a retros or when you want to discuss, you know , um , post-campaign analysis and you want to sit down in a room together and brainstorm and have a vibrant discussion. Once you have more than 10 or 12 people in a virtual chat like this, trying to figure things out together, what exactly happened in that campaign? Why did this speech and not improve conversion the way we thought it would? How did our process work? I think , um, when , when you have too many people on that call, that's when communication slightly breaks and you start seeing people, you know, putting the, putting themselves on mute for 15 minutes and are contributing to the discussion. So I think if there's one learning I've had over the last few weeks, it is smaller teams, smaller groups, smaller discussions rather than having those all handed discussions that maybe you would have on a and w within an office.

Speaker 2:

One hypothesis I've looked at, and I've talked to many number of people that this is the future of work and as a future as I get up months ago and say , you know, the future of work, it's about people place and purpose and the place we work won't always be our desk. I think, and I said this on the last podcast, we are in the world's largest wet from home experiment, whether we like it or not. And you mentioned it in your intro and you said that you know, people were quite happy not having to come into work and not having to do the commute. What do you think will change? Do you think we will have people wanting to rise back to the office? Do you think you'll have more people saying, Dan, I'd like to work actually not from home because I don't like working on the kitchen table. They'd like to work away from work other than these a post analysis reviews where you need to be in the same place to be more effective. Do you think we'll see the nature and the place where we work change? And would you be more sympathetic as a manager having to be home and homeschooling and knowing what it's like to work from home to allow people to work more flexibly? Where do you think that'll change for your business and what do you think that'll change more generally for companies around the world?

Speaker 3:

So we , uh , are having this discussion on a daily basis, to be honest, because as you rightfully said, this is a massive experiment for us and we can see everyone around us doing the same. And I think it's quite an exciting time for work and for , um, you know, work work-related academics to see what exactly is happening , uh, in these companies. In our, for us specifically, I can tell you that , uh, we had a work from home policy prior to the condemn a pandemic. Um, people could work from home every, I think we had one day a week every other week and people would use it and would utilize it. That was fine. Um, now would we change that? I imagined that we would change the policy because we've seen how people can work from home very effectively, but that's a different question to whether we would, how we would view someone working from home permanently or maybe coming into the office only once a week. That's a remote working dynamic. And that I think is where our perception has changed. Fundamentally. I think I was less , if I'm honest, I was slowly less open to having a remote working as a policy. Um, and now I can see the benefits of it and I can also see how productivity doesn't have to be , um, uh , reduced when someone is working from home. Um, and I think from what I can see, by the way, we have surveyed our costs , our employees, sorry about this. I think you have , um, people generally fall into three buckets. What I'm seeing right now, the either fall in the bucket where they just prefer to have a very clear separation between their working life and they're a homeowner and their home. And those are people that prefer to come into work. They prefer to , um, come into an office and when the , when they leave the office, they are leaving work behind them. Then you have people who are absolutely fine with the amalgamation of work in life and they can, you know, they want to go out for a run at 11 o'clock in the morning, but then afterwards, you know , if there's something that they want to do at 11 o'clock at night for work, they wouldn't think twice of it. And those are people I think that really shine. Right now I have three or four employees that tell me they've never been happier and that the , the fact that they can take the dog out for a walk in the afternoon and then log back in. Oh yeah. And they want to finish a bit of work on Sunday. That's the kind of life they want to lead. And this has allowed them to do that rather than to constrain them into what was perhaps the norm only a month or two ago. And then you have the middle tier, which is people who sometimes they want to be at home and they want, they want the amalgamation and sometimes they want a clear separation. And I think that is the most undefined and quite interesting one other than the three because I think that we have people go through different life stages and sometimes you know, you want to work hard and play hard and then sometimes you actually want to calm a lifestyle because you have kids or you want to be slightly more structured. And the question really will be to what extent we can offer a spectrum of work or a , um, perhaps a menu of alternatives for people to be able to work throughout their lives and be happy and feel fulfilled but also be able to live the kind of life they want to live. So I think I do , we're only at the beginning of this to be honest. And I think that in a year's time or two years time, we will find that it's not that people either work from home or work from the office or you know the, you have a very rigid policy of two days in the office, three days at home. I think we're going to move into a world where people are going to look at a menu and say, you know what? I prefer this right now, but maybe next month I'll do something else. Depending on the amount of work, depending on where they are in their life, depending on whether they want to go travel in Costa Rica for once . Right? That's I think the where , where this is going and what I think that's what I have learned out of this pandemic.

Speaker 2:

These are really powerful insights. I'm so glad you shared them so comprehensively. I think also what we'll find is that the fact that we've had that discussion, we weren't going to have it unless we had a pandemic and we forced everyone to go from home because it would have taken maybe years for people to do that. Generationally, you know, millennials and gen Z are saying we want a different work life balance. But going back to your own experience, so your manager, you're a CEO, you manage 50 people. You said, interestingly, and I've heard this a lot, that you weren't that comfortable about a blanket work from home policy, but when you're forced to work at home and when you're forced to homeschool and when you're forced to experience exactly what every other employee is doing, how has that changed your thinking and how do you get work done when you can't go to the office

Speaker 3:

when you have my job? The, the, the, the notion of work and the notion of life , uh, cannot be separated. And when we get an email from Apple about something to do with our iOS app on Saturday morning, then you have to jump on it. And when something, when we have downtime at two o'clock in the morning on a Tuesday , uh, you have to jump on it. So I think this kind of job , um , any way doesn't really lend itself to a very clear separation between work and life. But what this has really forced me to do, and I think I'm not great at this and I, and I suspect with most CEOs aren't great at putting boundaries to work, is that I really had to say, you know what, I need to shut the turn the computer off during this amount of time. I need to not look at my phone during lunchtime because otherwise I will continuously work throughout the day and throughout the week at the expense of my, you know, my relationship with my partner, the expense of my relationship with my son and so on. I think that when work comes home with you, that's the one thing because you have eight hours or 10 hours of work in the office, you come back home and you take a little bit of it with you. But when to work and home on the same place , um, that is where you actually have to force the boundaries. Almost done your own development, if that makes sense. And I cannot tell you that I'm getting an a star at that exam right now. Right? I might , may . My son's math is probably better than my ability to put the boundaries on work right now. But I think that is something that we would all have to learn as we go through this very, very strange period.

Speaker 2:

Do you think you've become a more sympathetic manager because you are literally experiencing what everyone else is experiencing?

Speaker 3:

So, I mean, I uh , became CEO of the company , um, in may of last year and before that I was a chief product officer and managing director and so on. So I feel like I've, Oh , I've come through the company and , um, I a hired most of the people in this company right now and I know them very well, have very intimate and , um, personal relationship with everyone, right as you do in these kinds of companies. Um, and to this day, of course everybody that is hired, I interview them as well and they will come to them and so on. So I feel like the level of empathy in smaller companies is innately larger. Uh, when you have a 600, 1000 man organization accordingly , imagine that there's a quite a bit of a divide between you. Um, I , I would argue that I probably speak to over 70% of my staff on a weekly basis. So the low, I think, I dare to say that the level of empathy and the level of identification with what they're going to do is not only , um , a result of me experiencing the same thing, but also the fact that we are very close bunch and , uh , and when we talk a lot to each other , um, I, you know, I, I do have to save other , in terms of the future of work and I'd be more sympathetic quote unquote, to working from home or those kinds of , um, like a migration to just not working in the office. I think it's going to very much depend on how we all come out of this. Uh , if we get , if we go into a global downturn, I think that's going to change a lot of the priorities for people. You know, rent is, it's quite expensive in London and if you don't have to , um, rent an office for 50 people, that's going to really help you. So there are practical issues here as well. I think if you go overweight to be on the Sandra

Speaker 2:

last topic before we close, hindsight is a wonderful thing. How would you prepared in a different way if you'd known the exact impact of what's going to happen in January this year?

Speaker 3:

You started off our conversation saying that you were , you're sure we had contingency plans and I wanted to say I absolutely did not have a contingency plan for what's happening this month. Right? We did have contingency plans for downturns and we talked a lot about what happens if there we see reduction in demand, but nothing even close to what we're seeing in terms of the volatility of the market, the change in behavior and everything we're seeing as a result of covert 19. Um, so if I knew what I know , uh, now back in January, I mean, I would have planned my year entirely differently. I mean I , it's clear that for us the peak of this entire year is going to be right now and we need to be , um, we need to be placed both in terms of our , um, systems, our um, customer resource management, our CRM in terms of um, our apps and stability in terms of scalability in a completely different place. This, this pandemic caught us just like a did everyone else off guard. Now it is true that we are doing very well right now and there are others that are very much hurting because you know, you think of the restaurant industry, you think of a company like a open table, right? That does bookings for restaurants and there are no restaurants open. They could only imagine what their CEO is going through and will that company, I'm sure they're a great company, I'm sure they'll do well. But for us, this period that caught us off guard in the sense that we would have put a lot more, fewer and a lot more fire power or uh, during this time if we ever would have known this going forward. I think this question , uh, is one that they were probably ponder in a months time when we come out, hopefully come out or lock down and when we go back to work and then when we hopefully will not, but [inaudible] probably see some kind of downturn or recession. How this is exactly the kind of , um, pre-mortem we're trying to run right now in the company to say, okay , you know, what, what can we do now to prepare ourselves for the worst coming? And , uh, I don't think we would have done anything in January to prepare for, covered more than just say, okay , you know what, let's make sure that all of our systems are in place. I think that now we're doing a ton to make sure we're ready for a downturn. If, if and when it will come and one to four months time.

Speaker 2:

Want to run you through a quick fire round. Five questions. One word or one sentence answers, zoom or Skype. Which month will we be back in the office? Um, June. Strangest thing you've bought online in the last few weeks.

Speaker 3:

Uh , mineral water. I didn't think I was gonna do that. I bought 60 bottles of mineral water, which is why it was so strange.

Speaker 2:

What's the last touch note you sent?

Speaker 3:

I tend to touch on this morning of course, and they sent one over my son. I had taught him over the long back or bank holiday weekend to ride his bicycle. So that's, that's a a box ticked for me and I got a picture of him riding his bike for the first time and they send that to everybody. I know. As you can imagine,

Speaker 2:

what's the first thing you will do when we can all meet again?

Speaker 3:

I will give a huge hug to my parents who are 70 plus years old and uh, they uh, and you can do that right now.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I, someone asked me the same thing. What's the first thing you do? I said hug someone I love, I think that human contact we really miss. So this is the practical futures podcast . So I want to ask you for three things that our listeners can be doing this week to set themselves up for success post pandemic

Speaker 3:

number one would be to hoard cash. I think it is extremely important do right now to make sure you have the cashflow to run , uh, to um, increase or expand your runway as much as possible. Number two, make sure that most practical thing is to make sure that your key employees, the people you absolutely depend on feel comfortable and secure. I think there's a huge amount of insecurity right now in the market. And number three, I think we talked about a lot is work hard on mental and physical health during this time as well that we've already seen some backlash on this. I think one of the practical things you could be doing right now is making sure that your employees are taken care of themselves. Great tips, Dan . How can people find out more about you and touch TouchNet ? I think we can either go into the app store, play store and just search for TouchNet as well. Touch on.com I am available and all social media is Dan Ziv the ends that Ivy, and I'd love to hear from customers as well as from your audience as well about what we can do to improve their lives and their communication.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much. Thanks Dan. I learned so much on this chat and you've also verified some of the thoughts I was having about how businesses will survive, so thanks for that. Please stay home and stay safe. Thank you so much. Anything ? A pleasure. Thank you for listening to the practical futurist podcast. You can find all of our previous [email protected] and if you like what you've heard on the show, please consider subscribing via your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode. You can find out more about Andrew and how he helps corporates navigate to disruptive digital world with keynote speeches and C-suite workshops at a futurist dot . London. Until next time, this has been the practical futurist podcast.

Dealing with your team during lockdown
What does Touchnote do?
Changes in consumer behaviour during Covid-19
Why consumers want more meaningful ways to communicate
Changes in strategy post Covid-19
Disruption as a result of Covid-19
Business models now and in the future
Communicating and motivating staff during lockdown
Why efficiency and productivity is higher than ever
The need for the team to take breaks while at home
Redefining the work-home boundaries
Using a "clock-in / clock-out" system while remote
The "red cord" process to deal with major issues
Adapting agile processes when working remotely
Where agile does not work for remote teams
Key learnings with remote teams - smaller is better
What does the future of work look like?
Will working away from home become the norm?
Adapting your current work from home policies
How a manager's view of remote working has changed
The 3 types of employees
Employees who want a clear separation between home and work
Employees who are fine with work + home
Employees who need flexibility depending on their life stage
Offering a menu of options for employees
In 12 month's time we will see the future of work really evolve
How working from home changes your perspective as a manager
Getting work done as a CEO during Covid-19
Setting your own boundaries as a CEO
When work and home are the same place you need to force boundaries
Empathising with your team
A global downturn will change business priorities
Benefit of hindsight - preparing for Covid-19
3 things you can do this week
1. Hoard cash
2. Ensure your key employees are comfortable and secure
3. Work hard on mental and physical health