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mr roboto

Business Owners - Staff Issues Post-Shutdown

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So I’m interested in discussing how some of you are dealing with different staffing realities now that you may be reopening businesses. I didn’t want to put this only in the business owner thread however because I think it would be interesting to hear people who don’t own business as chime in on some of these challenges as well.

In my case we are allowed to reopen our two fitness studios next week. We anticipate about 70% client return within the first few weeks and we are planning on bringing back our full staffing levels because we want to go back to 100% by the end of the summer.

However, the manager in our first location who does a phenomenal job and has really helped us build that into a very strong business is not going to be able to work full-time for quite a while. She is a single mom with a special-needs teenage daughter who requires around the clock attention and now that summer leagues in the school district summer childcare isn’t running she can only find about 20 hours a week to come in to work.  She can’t really work from home very effectively because every waking moment during the day her daughter needs true full attention from her.

Her ex-husband and his new wife help coparent but they’re both in the medical field and have been working crazy hours so it seems like she may not be able to come back to work full-time for quite a while.

It sucks to think about reducing her pay or not allowing her to be the manager anymore but we also can’t have somebody running the business with us who can’t be there 40 hours a week.

Would love to hear peoples thoughts and potential creative solutions and also if any of you have gone back to work or you own a business and have similar types of challenges would love to hear stories.

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Is she able to draw extended unemployment due to the Covid related childcare issue and work limited hours for you until she can get back to full time?

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Ron Swanson said:

Is she able to draw extended unemployment due to the Covid related childcare issue and work limited hours for you until she can get back to full time?

Yes, probably but she really does run the day today in the studio and we are going to have to hand those duties to somebody else which makes it kind of awkward because there’s also bonuses involved based on store revenues that will be hard to pay her if she’s not able to contribute much.

We were considering opening a third and having her become more of a general manager over all three with potentially a small equity or profit sharing stake and now due to the situation it makes it very hard to plan. On the other hand I think we are probably the most flexible employer she’s going to be able to find so hopefully she appreciates whatever we can figure out.

Edited by mr roboto

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51 minutes ago, mr roboto said:

So I’m interested in discussing how some of you are dealing with different staffing realities now that you may be reopening businesses. I didn’t want to put this only in the business owner thread however because I think it would be interesting to hear people who don’t own business as chime in on some of these challenges as well.

In my case we are allowed to reopen our two fitness studios next week. We anticipate about 70% client return within the first few weeks and we are planning on bringing back our full staffing levels because we want to go back to 100% by the end of the summer.

However, the manager in our first location who does a phenomenal job and has really helped us build that into a very strong business is not going to be able to work full-time for quite a while. She is a single mom with a special-needs teenage daughter who requires around the clock attention and now that summer leagues in the school district summer childcare isn’t running she can only find about 20 hours a week to come in to work.  She can’t really work from home very effectively because every waking moment during the day her daughter needs true full attention from her.

Her ex-husband and his new wife help coparent but they’re both in the medical field and have been working crazy hours so it seems like she may not be able to come back to work full-time for quite a while.

It sucks to think about reducing her pay or not allowing her to be the manager anymore but we also can’t have somebody running the business with us who can’t be there 40 hours a week.

Would love to hear peoples thoughts and potential creative solutions and also if any of you have gone back to work or you own a business and have similar types of challenges would love to hear stories.

Half my staff is making more in unemployment benefits so they don’t want to come back.  I own daycare/preschool.  

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1 minute ago, stlrams said:

Half my staff is making more in unemployment benefits so they don’t want to come back.  I own daycare/preschool.  

But once you offer them their job back can they actually stay on unemployment?

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7 minutes ago, mr roboto said:

But once you offer them their job back can they actually stay on unemployment?

I’m not sure but fed $600 ends in July so we’ll make due until then plus enrollment down as parents still working from home and some lost their jobs. 

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4 hours ago, mr roboto said:

In my case we are allowed to reopen our two fitness studios next week. We anticipate about 70% client return within the first few weeks and we are planning on bringing back our full staffing levels because we want to go back to 100% by the end of the summer.

What are you basing a 70% client return rate within the next few weeks on?  While I hope that is true for you and your fitness centers, that seems like an exceptionally high estimate. Pre-Covid, I went to my gym five times a week. Now, I could not be paid enough to go back there yet.

3 hours ago, mr roboto said:

We were considering opening a third and having her become more of a general manager over all three with potentially a small equity or profit sharing stake and now due to the situation it makes it very hard to plan.

I do wish you the best in opening a 3rd gym, but that would scare the living out of me in this environment. 

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49 minutes ago, Teddy Stickles said:

What are you basing a 70% client return rate within the next few weeks on?  While I hope that is true for you and your fitness centers, that seems like an exceptionally high estimate. Pre-Covid, I went to my gym five times a week. Now, I could not be paid enough to go back there yet.

I do wish you the best in opening a 3rd gym, but that would scare the living out of me in this environment. 

I understand your perspective. We are part of a national franchise brand and we have had stores re-open across the system and we are averaging about a 70% return rate in the first two or three weeks in stores that have been open for that long.  It’s a small personal training concepts and not a large health club with big crowds. 
 

The other thing is there’s tons of real estate deals out there now for spaces to lease and rents are lower and there’s more incentives for new businesses so starting to shop for real estate now without making decisions could put us in a position to have lower structural costs for the first five years of the lease.  I likely will pull the trigger on anything until we get through the fall and winter season to make sure that there’s not a massive second spike or another shut down.

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Posted (edited)

She sounds like a gem that is well-thought out. She's probably already had thoughts on this. Have you talked to her? What are her ideas?

ETA ya know finding new help is a pain in the neck. If you treat her well here and find a way, you could have a manager for life that always runs your biz well. 

Edited by Bri

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2 hours ago, Bri said:

She sounds like a gem that is well-thought out. She's probably already had thoughts on this. Have you talked to her? What are her ideas?

ETA ya know finding new help is a pain in the neck. If you treat her well here and find a way, you could have a manager for life that always runs your biz well. 

Yeah you are right. She’s awesome. We are definitely going to err on the side of generosity and keeping her. 

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On 6/6/2020 at 5:34 PM, mr roboto said:

Yeah you are right. She’s awesome. We are definitely going to err on the side of generosity and keeping her. 

If she has to stay home to take care of her daughter she would be eligible for extended FMLA under the Families First Coronavirus Act.  She could take "intermittent leave" under the act to cover the hours she doesn't work at 2/3rds her normal rate of pay.  You pay her at her normal rate for the ones she does.

 

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On 6/6/2020 at 8:09 AM, mr roboto said:

Yes, probably but she really does run the day today in the studio and we are going to have to hand those duties to somebody else which makes it kind of awkward because there’s also bonuses involved based on store revenues that will be hard to pay her if she’s not able to contribute much.

We were considering opening a third and having her become more of a general manager over all three with potentially a small equity or profit sharing stake and now due to the situation it makes it very hard to plan. On the other hand I think we are probably the most flexible employer she’s going to be able to find so hopefully she appreciates whatever we can figure out.

I'd say you hand off 50% of her duties that are more administrative in nature and doesn't directly lead to maintaining/growing the business.  This would allow her to spend her actual time on strategic things that matter and grow the business.  It would also be a good stretch assignment for whomever you would be placing/promoting into her existing role.  If they're both contributing 50%, then split the bonuses between them, or 70/30 if one is really contributing more to the actual revenue/growth of the business. 

If all works out and you do expand to a 3rd location and she is able to come back to work full time, then she becomes GM as planned and you have a (somewhat proven) backfill who then takes over the remaining 50% duties. 

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Had my best tech / installer tell me that he couldn't return to work because his wife works at the hospital and he had no one to watch his kids with schools closed.

He had been getting paid his full salary, with benefits, for the full 6 week shut-down.  Now reopening. Was a sticky situation.

My options were; 

- Continue paying him to stay home while all of his coworkers are now putting in 40 hours to get the same ... get PPP loan forgiveness for his salary

- Lay him off - Let him collect the extra $600 a week above unemployment benefits .... and screw myself on the PPP loan forgiveness for his salary

- Acknowledge that he quit = Stop paying him. No unemployment ... and screw myself on the PPP loan forgiveness for his salary

 

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We're back to normal, and I've given everyone the option to work from home if they would like too.  Some do still do, though our office is set up to where we can all completely avoid each other.  

The issue now is people taking advantage of their WFH option.  Things like,  "I have a doctors appointment on the other side of town so I'll just WFH today"  or "I have the kids today so I'll just WFH."   Etc...

Has anyone set guidelines on how employees use PTO now?  We've always just given employees 10-15 days of PTO.  I feel like no one is going to have to take a personal day now and we're going to get slammed with everyone taking 2-3 weeks off by the time the year winds down.  

I love people staying on top of things while not in the office, but I sort of feel like they have way too much PTO now?   Things are rolling along just fine, but I can see a problem looming.  

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