Small Business COVID-19 Survival Guide Tips - Part 1: Empowering Your Staff

Everyone has been affected one way or another by the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Since the initial hard lockdown of South Africa in March, many small businesses and their employees have been adversely affected by the restrictions which have come with each stage. 

It’s vital to consider your employee’s pain points during the continued lockdown restrictions, as President Ramaphosa announced last night that the nation would remain in lockdown level 3 with new restrictions and old ones being reinstated. 

In this piece, we will explore what steps you can take to help your staff during these trying times. 

What Can Small Business Owners Do For Their Staff?

  1. If any of your workforce are worried that they might be infectious, consider paying for their COVID-19 tests on their behalf. The sooner they know, the sooner you’ll know and the sooner you’ll have employees who have been exposed working from home.


  2. Everyone is going through a tough time, wrought with fear and uncertainty. Ensure that you keep communications open with your staff and consider sending staff members something special, perhaps care packages with essentials to show that you care about them.

  3. It would be best if you considered assisting your employees by potentially advancing their salaries should they need to restock on supplies, medication or groceries. 

  4. Should any of your employees fall ill, we advise allowing your healthy co-workers to work from home.

  5. If the event of possible retrenchment, we suggest first consulting with your staff to determine if they are prepared to work for reduced salaries or perhaps willing to take unpaid leave. Now is not the time to take advantage of your employee’s vulnerabilities. If you’re able to find the means to pay good workers, don’t make the blunder of letting them go.

  6. Your employees might require emotional help. Ensure that you provide them with support, information and details of the national support services available, such Lifeline 0861 322 322 or SADAG at 0800 567 567.

  7. Consider recording and distributing daily videos to keep your employees updated and motivated. You could also do this using Skype or Zoom with regular video meetings.

  8. Consider collecting food parcels to share among any employees who might be in worse positions. 

  9. You more than likely have found that it’s been quieter than usual, so we suggest using this time to up-skill your staff via online courses, webinars or any other form of online education.


This article forms part of a series of pieces we’ll be publishing in the next few days for small business owners to consider using in their efforts to weather the COVID-19 storm, As per President Ramaphosa’s words last night in the state of nation address where he announced new level restrictions, the “storm is now upon us.” In our next piece, we explore various forms of software which will help your small business weather the COVID -19 pandemic. 

  • Coronavirus
  • small business
  • COVID-19
  • UIF
  • staff management
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