Lost Productivity from a Disaster

Everyone has to find a way through disasters. Hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, these are some of the usual suspects. In 2020, it is a pandemic. I’m writing this in part just to vent about all of the extra work required to get through such things. We at Magnus have been through it multiple times with hurricanes. We have a plan, we use a check list, we have supplies. But, this has been different. Shopping now requires face masks, gloves, and changing clothes. Then, there are the other challenges, new ones, besides the gloves. With hurricanes, we know how to get ourselves back to “normal,” functionality wise, as soon as possible – the work goes on – at least in areas with little or no impact from the storm. But, as we all know, the pandemic of 2020 has shut down much of the economy. People lock their doors and hide inside (a line from “Best of Times” by Styx, 1981). Our work stops – at least the paying work. Work stops for many people. Then, the government, the banks, the credit card companies, come up with band aids to get us through. So, we find ourselves spending hours and hours trying to figure out work arounds to our normal protocols. We reschedule and move projects, re-book travel, facilities, and more. All of this is non billable time. In the last several days, I’ve spent hours looking at government programs. I’m thankful they are there – we small business owners sure could have used our own bailout in the 2008-2009 time frame. At least, this time, there appears to be some small business relief and assistance. But, that takes time. Time I’d rather spend on productive efforts at marketing, or just about anything else than administrative tasks – the band aids. Getting through the day takes more, not less, time – and it feels like we’re spinning our wheels at times rather than being productive. I know these are difficult times for all and we’re muddling through. As I said, I just have to vent about all the compounding issues that pile on and wear one down on a daily basis. Whew.

In the month since the world closed its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Magnus, like almost every business worldwide, has been negatively impacted in ways I would never have imagined.  Although we are certainly “all in this together,” I am finding that most people with whom I am in contact are focused on the ways in which the stay at home and other orders are affecting them personally.  Like most people, I, too, am focused on my life, my family, and my company.  We, at Magnus, were off to a great beginning in 2020.  We had several projects that kept us busy right up to the time we were told not to travel or spend time in groups larger than 10 people.  Now, and for the foreseeable future, we have no work to do.  Our work requires us to travel and to spend time with groups of more than 10 people.  That’s just how it is.  Although we are searching for alternative ways of doing things, such as conducting the dreaded online jury research we have eschewed for many years, we are mostly spending our work days cancelling, postponing, and re-scheduling work.  Work that was supposed to happen soon may never happen or, if it does, is planned to happen so long from now that Magnus’ may have ceased to exist by then.  Yes, we have work to do, but it is mostly “busy work,” and busy work does not pay the bills.  Never has and never will!  We will keep trying and hoping for the best, but we will never completely recover from what has been lost.  Sad but true. 

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