On mental health & reopening
We’re almost to the halfway point of 2020, which is wild to think about. I feel like we’ve gone through a whole decade by this point. Some things that have happened in the last two weeks for me:
- Celebrated my 8-year freelance-versary
- Purchased a Peak Design travel tripod because I want to get into better photography at home. My next purchases will be a zoom lens & some background/lights for a pop-up studio. If all is successful, I’ll be able to offer more product photography to clients!
- Spent a lot of time in the sun, soaking it up before the San Francisco foggy summer arrives.
I opted to include a heavy dose of e-commerce and digital communication articles in this issue. Everyone could benefit from a great email newsletter and interesting blog posts (but hopefully, not to the detriment of your energy!).
On mental health & reopening
It took a while to figure out what I was going to write for this issue. At 4:45 pm Pacific time today, I locked in on something: the mental health angle of reopening. It’s something I want to reflect on, so stay with me here.
I am not a cafe owner, I don’t have employees, nor do I have much of an overhead for operations. I do know that cafes and roasters operate on slim margins and that every bit helps. As reopens continue, I imagine it’s a lot of red tape, loan worries, and safety put in place not to mention the constant disinfecting that needs to happen throughout a shift. It’s a lot.
Two posts on Instagram prompted this piece. I’m putting the images of them below in addition to the original post links.
Tried & True Coffee had an upset customer who maced the cafe. They were shaken for good reason and posted about the incident for their customers.
Mama Mocha’s has had verbally abusive customers for every shift. Cooped-up customers taking out their unhappiness on service workers is nothing new but pandemic-influenced unhappiness? That’s a new level.
Tipped service workers are at higher risk for depression, sleep issues, and stress when compared to non-tipped employees. It also impacts women more than men which is significant as women make up 67% of all tipped workers. This study was published in pre-pandemic 2018.
On top of tipped wages and the associated customer service related mental health issues, there are also cross-sections of race, gender, gender identity and expression, and far more to consider.
It goes to reason that between all of this, it’s difficult to work in a cafe and/or operate one. There are many ways to alleviate some of the stress but that unfortunately still takes time and groundwork.
I’ve listed some ideas below and I imagine a little role playing of scenarios, especially if some aren’t feeling confident in speaking out against a customer, could be useful.
- Adding protocol for difficult customers in your employee handbook
- Empowering staff to make a decision to warn or ban a customer, knowing that they have your full support
- Have ready answers for why certain measures are being taken and why someone won’t be allowed in if you don’t follow them (depends on the state/country)
- Put up signage reminding customers to be respectful - this might seem like overkill but I tend to err on the side of over communication
- Read up on strategies for an employee-first culture
- If your staff is unemployed, let them know that Headspace, the meditation app, is offering a full year subscription for free to US-unemployed workers
And lastly, make sure you’re taking care of yourself. If you scroll down this issue, you’ll find a link about mental health concerns for business owners. I have to constantly remind myself that we are in a pandemic and that productivity should not be a goal. Rather, I try to take one day at a time and take a deep breath for the next day.
Quick text updates & links on what's new on the networks
Facebook added the Shops feature for Instagram & Facebook and Messenger Rooms (like Zoom) for Groups & events. It clarified its guidelines to avoid copyright infringement during Live broadcasts. It’s testing: skippable mid-roll ads, and new engagement alerts for group admins. Facebook also released a report on the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses.
Helpful links on how to improve your digital marketing
Working on email marketing? Learn how to write strategic emails depending on the customer journey.
[There are some excellent, applicable ideas here!]
Are you looking for ways to grow your customer base? Want to learn some pricing tricks that can help you generate more sales and enquiries?
Sometimes, we have to write about topics that don’t inspire us that much. Discover 7 unique tips HubSpot’s blog team uses to make dull blog topics engaging and compelling.
Anything I've enjoyed reading recently
Faced with losses from the COVID-19 pandemic, some restaurant owners want to close their doors permanently. The problem is, it’s not that simple.
[I used to live in Chicago so many of my friends are in this piece - plus it’s a pretty good overview of what one city’s coffee scene is going through.]
The novel coronavirus has hurt the roasters who fuel the city’s lauded coffee culture
It’s vital for owners to recognize the signs of small business anxiety, depression, and stress in order to combat it before it becomes too much to handle.
An update from my container garden!
Oxalis vulcanicola burgundy - it looks more purple than this photo shows & also has these beautiful little yellow blooms.
I’m doing free 15-min brainstorming session consults for coffee businesses/organizations affected by COVID-19!
What'd you think?
Feedback, questions, or fist bumps 👊 – send them my way by hitting the reply button. Also happy with the 👍 at the end. Or find me on the social networks @thejennchen.