Getting Yourself Ready for the Extended Community Quarantine

By: Martin Luigi Lagustan
Getting Yourself Ready for the Extended Community Quarantine

We’re in the midst of a third Extended Community Quarantine since the pandemic spread here in the Philippines. With the quarantine restrictions and risks of the Delta variant, you might be afraid that your big plans, like starting a business, moving to a new place, or buying a lot for sale will be put on hold until face-to-face activities are resumed again.

Luckily, you don’t have to sacrifice your goals as long as you know how to get ready for this ECQ. In this article, we’ll give you tips on how to adjust your home and your business.

Extended Community Quarantine Preparations in Your Home

photo of children wearing facemasks

Create a schedule

The restrictions are back, so your plans of going out to visit your friends or that lot for sale you’ve been looking at online may need to be rescheduled. So, make sure you read about the most current protocols in your area so you can adjust your plans accordingly.

After that, if you have kids, you also need to create a new schedule and routine at home, since the new school year is almost here. If your child is new to online school, here’s a guide we made to help your kids adjust to online learning. Of course, you also need to leave room for fun so that they don’t experience burnout or demotivation from the lack of physical interaction with their friends.

Moreover, with a more contagious variant spreading in the country, you have to prepare for the possibility of longer quarantine. We’ll never really know when we’ll recover this time, so it’s best to be safe than sorry. That being said since we’re fast approaching the -ber months, the rainy season will most likely continue, so you have to be prepared for that as well. Here’s an article about things to do at home on a rainy day.

On top of all that, it’s also wise to prepare your meals ahead of time, so don’t hesitate to schedule a meal plan with your house chef, or house help, or do it yourself. With a meal plan, you don’t have to go out all the time just because you ran out of groceries or food supplies. This can greatly reduce your (or a household member’s) exposure to crowded areas like the mall, grocery store, or marketplace.

If you really need to go out for groceries in a supermarket, you can use Grab Mart or Panda Mart. You can also try a new alternative called Toktok. They’re relatively new to the market, but they have better prices compared to more popular courier services. You can check out their Pabili Service on their website for more information. They’re partners with SM Supermalls and Robinsons Malls, so you don’t have to worry about where they’re getting your groceries.

Sign up for vaccination

There are a lot of misconceptions and misinformation about vaccines that are still spreading all over the internet. On top of that, some Filipinos are afraid of the side effects of COVID vaccines. So, if you’re one of the people who aren’t swayed by whatever they see online, you can do your part in stopping false information by educating the people closest to you.

The key is putting your mindset into perspective. Vaccines aren’t curing illnesses, but rather they promote a support system within your body to help you fight a disease. That way, when you do get whatever variant of the virus, you won’t experience the full blast of its effects and it will feel like it’s just another flu.

Vaccines are heavily backed by science and decades of research. If you’re worried about the Delta variant, recent studies have found that after two vaccine doses, you are still very much protected against this more contagious variation. Here’s an article by Healthline for more details about the effectiveness of each vaccine brand or type.

If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, sign up for a schedule in your local government unit so that you and every member of your household can be safe against COVID-19 variants. While different vaccine brands offer varying efficacy rates against Delta, you can rest assured that all of them will protect you from severe symptoms and even death.

Mental health check

Now that we’re on our third ECQ, and seeing how other countries are doing so well in living with the pandemic, it can take a toll on your mental health. Prolonged lockdowns and constant fear of the virus can cause pandemic burnout and make it more challenging to get on top of things you’ve always been wanting to do, like going on a trip, moving out, or buying a lot for sale.

Meanwhile, if you have teens or kids, don’t hesitate to ask how they’re doing. A 2020 study shows that while there is a low COVID infection rate in kids and adolescents, they are still very exposed to the stress caused by the pandemic. Moreover, because of prolonged quarantines, young children were found to be more clingy, have more disturbed sleep, are inattentive, and have significant separation problems.

Mental health isn’t something that a lot of Filipino households take seriously. However, because of this pandemic, we should become more cautious and acknowledge that mental illnesses are real disorders, and depression isn’t just being sad. Healthline even warns that depression symptoms are three times higher because of lockdowns.

So, don’t risk ignoring your mental health in hopes that you’ll feel better once this is all over. Because, first, at this point, nobody really knows exactly when this will all be over. The best thing you can do is focus on what you can control, and your mental health is one of them.

Schedule a therapy session with your psychologist or psychiatrist. You can also ask your trusted OB-GYN to help you detect, prevent, and treat mental illnesses. If you know what you’re dealing with, you’ll have better chances of winning against the illness.

Continue to support local establishments in your area

While the constant lockdowns are taking its toll on your household, it’s also affecting a lot of local businesses. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. These businesses have employees that live in your community and have their own families to feed. Hence, as we enter another phase of ECQ, it gets even more difficult, especially for establishments that are still trying to build their brands.

So, if you have local alternatives in your area for services or necessities, show your support by buying from them instead. This will help them stay afloat, which will have a stronger impact on your community. On top of that, supporting businesses in your area means you don’t have to drive too far from home, so you have a reduced carbon footprint and shorter outdoor exposure.

Extended Community Quarantine Preparations for Business Owners

photo of a person working while wearing a mask

Speaking of supporting businesses, you or your family might be a business owner as well. So, we won’t be surprised if you have a better understanding of what local businesses are dealing with.

Now, while preparing your home for another enhanced community quarantine, as a business owner, you have a lot of other things to deal with. To help you start, below are some of the things that you should do. Do note that these may vary on what your business is and what industry you’re in.

Prepare your employees

If there’s anyone that’s equally important as your customers, it’s your employees. They’re literally the people you rely on to help your business survive, so you have to show them that you care about them in light of what’s currently happening.

One of the best ways to show your care is to prepare them for what your business is planning to do, in relation to quarantine restrictions. Since this isn’t our first ECQ, we’re positive that you already have employee health protocols that they should follow. However, don’t hesitate to remind them.

Another thing you can do is to tell your sick employees to stay in their homes. If you don’t offer paid sick leaves, you should consider offering it to them at least temporarily. An alternative could be shouldering their PCR tests so that you also know if any of your employees are infected. You should also have protocols set that everybody will follow if someone tests positive.

Moreover, you should also identify critical employee groups in your business. These are the people that have significant roles in your company that make their presence in-house imperative. After identifying them, see how you can help make their commute easier and provide support.

If you have work-from-home employees, make sure their equipment is still running well. Be sure to check on them from time to time to show that you value their mental health. Setting up weekly non-work-related catch-ups can be a great way to help them blow off some steam.

Communicate with business partners or suppliers

Another crucial factor of your business is your partners or suppliers. So, you have to communicate with them so that you know how they will handle the heightened restrictions of the ECQ and the increased risk brought by the Delta variant.

For business partners, consider the pros and cons of keeping your relationship going. Having long-term partnerships is great, but you also have to consider alternatives that may be more beneficial for your business. In times like this, establishing new relationships with other companies that are better equipped to help you address urgent needs can greatly affect your gains and losses.

Meanwhile, for suppliers, it can mean the same thing. So, you have to ask them about their operations during the ECQ. Will the current protocols affect the delivery of supplies? What are their contingency plans in terms of product issues or delivery delays? Should you switch to a closer supplier that can provide the same quality?

At the end of the day, running a company involves building and severing a lot of relationships in order to push your business further. As long as everything is communicated properly and professionally, you shouldn’t have an issue even if it means cutting ties with one of your most trusted partners.

Look for digital strategies

The ECQ has a lot of restrictions that can greatly affect all business types. Luckily, there are also a lot of strategies that you can do to keep your business going.

One of the most effective ways you can consider is digital marketing. Digital marketing, or online marketing, is a type of marketing that uses the internet or any online-based technology, like computers, smartphones, and other digital media to promote a business. Moreover, it’s also a growing industry in the Philippines as more and more local businesses see its importance.

However, you have to consider if it’s feasible and wise for your business to go digital because digital marketing can be really expensive if you’re not doing it right. So, consult your marketing team or a friend that does online marketing to see if it’s something that will work for your business.

Ask about the seven broad categories beneath digital marketing: Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Content Marketing, Pay-per-click, Email Marketing, Marketing Analytics, and Mobile Marketing. At least one of these strategies can help you gain more customers or clients if done correctly.

Optimize your cost

During an economic crisis, most businesses undergo cost-cutting to prevent extreme losses in overall revenue. Unfortunately, the most common form of cost-cutting is a mass employee layoff, which isn’t always the best move and can ruin your business’ image in the long run.

Instead, you can focus on optimizing your costs by prioritizing the products or services that have the greatest demand and the most profit generated. Moreover, look for innovations based on those products or services that can help you gain quick wins. After that, you can consider revising your pricing model for more flexible and affordable options.

Meanwhile, you should also consider the biggest customer groups that have the most driving factor in your revenue. Continuously remarket to your best customers and adjust according to their changing needs.

At the same time, you should also communicate with your finance team (or person) to identify opportunities and threats, and what you can do to address them. That way, you can focus on operational efficiency while making smart financial decisions.

If you really need to reduce the number of your staff members, find out what work processes can be automated. Through automation, you can still maintain a seamless business flow, without having to dissolve entire teams in the process.

Be Family and Business-ready During Extended Community Quarantine

photo of a woman working from home and is having a zoom meeting

You can’t prepare for literally everything, but being prepared for obvious risks can help you cope better during the enhanced community quarantine. Just remember that it doesn’t always have to be difficult, as long as you know how to quickly adapt to the current situation served in front of you.

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