The year of 2020 is finally behind us and we all have said farewell and don’t come back. Although the date on the calendar has changed I would argue that nothing has really changed when it comes to daily business operations. We have all had to deal with employees being quarantined and probably will continue to do so for several more months. We still have a lot of government mandates that possibly make running our businesses a challenge, these did not magically go away with the New Year either. People are still staying home more often and may make your business sales continue to struggle until the vaccines are more widespread.
Farmers & Merchants Bank is somewhat unique in that we have to be open for people to have access to their money. As we made operating decisions early on, we decided everyone will continue to report to work every day in their same branch office. We took precautions to ensure each employee was safe but felt it was the right thing to do as our customer expect great service, and should always receive it. We purchased the dividers, masks, and sanitizing stations as they will be here for a while and some may even become permanent. We decided to respect the virus but not live in fear. Although we have had several employees have to quarantine or even test positive, not one case has been linked to the safe workplace environment we have been able to establish. I have been frustrated dealing with companies that want to make excuses about not being able to do something because most of them are working from home, so we refuse to make the same mistake. This pandemic cannot be an excuse to provide less service or reduce the number of days or hours worked.
The good news is that most of us will survive a few more months of this pandemic. If you are willing to be creative there is still demand for almost any type of business or product. We invested in technology a few years back that proved helpful during this pandemic, whether it was enabling our customers to open accounts online, deposit checks with mobile pictures, or ensure employees are able to work remotely during quarantine. I have seen some business get really creative by doing livestreaming, zoom meetings, delivery, and others. We all know how to facetime, maybe you make appointments and show your customer around your store to shop real time with you while you tell them about your products or do a demo the service you offer. It is important to realize this virus may be just one of other future roadblocks that will come around and impact you negatively. The key to success is to be willing to do hard and not give up. We must all find ways to stay positive, be creative, and make sure your business is open. Take the time to do everything possible to make sure your business has a giant OPEN sign for all to know, whether figurative or literal. I also encourage everyone to stay involved in organizations and networks to keep up relationships and maybe find ways to help each other out as we will get through this together.
Shon B Myers
President & CEO
Farmers & Merchants Bank