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There’s no question that the coronavirus pandemic has made business challenging for many landscape business owners. Although our industry was lucky enough to ultimately be deemed “essential” across the country, when state shutdown orders first began, many were left scrambling to figure out where their business stood. And even though many continued to work, it meant following new protocols and adapting to a lot of changes. Office staff was required to work at home and many safety changes were made in the field.
It’s what many have been calling the “new normal.”
But ours is an industry of creativity—and many businesses got creative in their efforts to continue business as usual despite the unusual circumstances. At Include Software, we have been so impressed by the stories we’ve heard—including the ways in which software helped many businesses to adjust to necessary changes more easily.
Here are some of the amazing ways that we have heard of businesses adapting during these unprecedented times.
Implementing Safety Changes
Incorporating new safety protocols into their workday was a big change that landscape businesses were required to make. Crews and the number of passengers in a vehicle were cut down, everyone started making an effort to stay six feet apart from one another, and new sanitation methods were implemented. Many companies told us they have been sanitizing trucks and equipment regularly now. Some companies have told us about efforts to stagger crews start and stop times so that they’re coming to the yard at different times and avoiding interaction. Whenever possible, many companies are telling their people to go straight to the job. Across the board, there has been a lot of attention paid to keeping landscape workers safe but employed.
Transitioning to a Remote Office Set-Up
Another huge change has been the need for office staff to start working from home. Whether it’s customer service, sales, accounting, or management, many of these duties are now being performed remotely.
For many, landscape business software has made that transition so much smoother. With a powerful software system, a company’s divisions are already interconnected. For instance, a sales lead can move from the sales pipeline into production seamlessly—and everyone from the company can see what’s going on at any time, even remotely.
This inter-connectivity has been especially helpful for landscape business owners who are operating more than one branch—perhaps in different cities, or maybe even a different state. We’ve heard some landscape business owners say they could not have made a remote transition so seamlessly had it not been for the support of software.
With landscape business software that also has a mobile app companion, landscape business owners and managers can be connected to crews in the field as well. This can eliminate the need for field staff to come into the office. Crews can punch in and punch out without ever having to stop at headquarters. They can receive work orders with all of the information needed for the day being sent to a crew leader’s mobile device. Job cost details, time, materials, site notes, and other important information can also be uploaded from the job for data tracking purposes. And field staff can keep great progress reports by sending property details back to the office to be recorded in the client’s file, including photos.
With the right mobile app support, operations can run smoothly even in the midst of a pandemic and the need for social distancing.
Connecting to Customers Virtually, Too
The pandemic brought to light not only a need for internal virtual work capabilities but also a need for virtual connection to clients. Landscape business owners knew they had a responsibility to keep their customers safe, too. That has meant encouraging their teams to limit contact with customers and eliminating any paperwork, including invoicing, left behind at a job.
For landscape businesses with customer portal technology, much of this virtual communication was already being done.
With a customer portal, customers can pay their invoices, access account information, view progress, or even request a service. These capabilities can go a long way in reducing or eliminating the need for in-person communication.
We are Here for You
We’ve been proud to see how the Green Industry has forged ahead despite these trying times. Your efforts to keep people safe but also continually employed throughout this pandemic have not gone unnoticed.
We’ve also been proud of the ways in which the Green Industry has rallied together to support one another. We have always known it’s an industry of camaraderie and that has shone through during these tough times.
At Include Software, we want you to know that we’re also here for you. If we can answer your questions or help show you ways in which Asset can support your business through the challenges we’re continuing to face, let us know. We want to help set you up for success.