On the whole we know the country is taking a hit with load shedding, but SMEs are being hit particularly hard. Rolling blackouts are affecting operations for as many as four hours a week, cutting the work day in half. No industry is excluded from the knock-on affect their business is experiencing.
The reduction of electricity may cost the country as much as R5 billion a day, according to Organization Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), a civil-society group.
What the repercussions look like on a daily basis
Shopkeepers and those in the food and beverages industry, like restaurants, experience walkouts when customers aren’t able to get what they want. They are also losing stock – particularly wastage from perishables.
Manufacturers have to down tools altogether as machinery dependent on a power source shuts down and delay orders. Staff that are paid by the hour are also affected as their hours are cut in half.
Professional services and technology companies…need we say more. The interruptions in communication amongst teams, the inability for stakeholders to access systems, and the financial and accounting bottleneck start to take a toll.
Workarounds that might ease the pain a little
Sadly, we can’t control the inevitable and need to start looking at workarounds to lessen the impact if possible. It might be worth getting your team together and brainstorming a couple of your own suggestions that are applicable to your own business. We’ve started you off with some suggestions below.
- Download apps, like EskomSePush, to make yourself aware of the load shedding times in your area and communicate this to your team. Structure your workdays to tackle the important tasks in those times. This means being mindful of what needs urgent doing and what operations are vital for the business.
- Breakup the workload. If you only have a limited number of hours a day – spread the important tasks across team members so that the tasks get accomplished in time before any downtime.
- Identify which tasks can be done with your mobile device when all other systems are down. For example, phone and email communication can be done via your mobile device when there is load shedding. Though your data costs might be higher than usual at least you’re able to stay in touch with suppliers, customers and stakeholders.
- This may seem obvious, but charge your technology while you have power. Many people can still do offline tasks when internet connectivity is down. Power up so that you can still continue with work like reporting, design work, and presentations.
- Consider investing in a generator. It’s difficult to say how long these troubles will continue and it might call for placing some of your budget on something that can keep you online, refrigerate stock and keep the doors open for customers. If it’s difficult to find the extra cash, consider a bridging loan with Lulalend. It’s an eight-minute application and you get paid out in 24 hours.
- Backup all systems. It’s easy to lose documentation and vital information if it’s not saved and backed up in time. Load shedding can also cause hardware issues and surges so make use of the cloud and keep everything safe and accessible.
If you have any other suggestions about how businesses like yours can find solutions while the government tries to find the answers; they need to know. If we help each other we can be part of the solution – we just need to think out of the box and keep a positive outlook.