In this fast-changing world, we are somewhat used to non-stop changing circumstances at work. However, when a bigger “disaster” of any kind hits us, we see how vulnerable we all are. A nice example is the latest epidemic of the virus SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19, when suddenly public life stopped due to the prevention of the bigger spread of the virus. However, not everything stopped, we still need certain goods, and thus production has to continue. Also, nature doesn’t stop and continue with its life cycle. Therefore farmers and food-processing companies have no other option but to keep working. But how to organize vineyard work in order to prevent further spread of the virus and keep workforce safe?
The coronavirus epidemic hit wineries all around the world hard as many had to close their wine tasting rooms, the purchasing power is falling, and now many have problems with getting workers and organizing work inline with the authority restrictions. At this time of the year, a lot of hard-working hands are needed in the vineyards, all around the world. On the Northern Hemisphere vines are waking up so spring work in the vineyard begins, while on the Southern Hemisphere, harvest period is closing. As some vineyard managers are already facing problems on how to organize work in the vineyard, we have put together a list of tips to help you organize work more smoothly in this coronavirus epidemic time.
1. Follow the recommendations of the authorities
There might be some restrictions of work, depending on where are you located, therefore follow those instructions for safety reasons. Obviously, the world can’t just stop because of the epidemic, although it seems that coronavirus has stopped it to some extend; essential business operations are allowed. Work such as vineyard management, wine production operations, bottling, warehousing, sales, delivery, and shipping are permitted, as they are classified as essential business, and are key for winery/vineyard survival.
2. Protect yourself and your employees
In line with the first point, provide all the necessary equipment for yourself and your employees in order to prevent the spread of the virus, such as gloves, masks, disinfectants, soaps, etc. Keep the safety distance, at least 6 feet (2 meters). After you have all the necessary equipment, educate workers on how to behave in this critical time. Here is some advice for the public on basic protective measures against the new coronavirus from WHO.
We advise you to organize work in smaller groups to prevent a greater spread of the virus. Smaller teams can work in a bigger area, thus workers can be arranged further apart, for example, one worker per every second or third row, in order to keep the safety distance among workers.
Due to the worker shortage that might arise because of the prevention measures of COVID-19, a good work organization is crucial. An important aspect of the work organization is prioritizing, which helps you do only the most important things to reach the outlined goals. A great way to know which tasks have priorities is to use Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle when scheduling tasks. Look at your work log and think for each task either it’s urgent and/or important, and then use the Eisenhower Matrix to know what to do with the task – do it now, schedule it for later, delegate it, or don’t do it at all. To learn more about how to prioritize work in the vineyard, check-out one of our older posts, here.
4. Make use of technology
Technology can be helpful in every aspect of vineyard management, also when it comes to organizing work in the vineyard. Concerning work organization, technology can help you also with automated record keeping and documentation creation to save your precious time. Several technologies exist on the market, one of them is eVineyard that can help you organize vineyard work like a pro with it’s “Work order” module, while the “eVineyard Documentation” module automates record-keeping and create any documentation you need.
Another example of how technology can help you with workforce shortage is to automate certain work activities. Make use of fully automated systems, such as eVineyard Irrigation together with Vinduino sensors stations that enable completely automatic irrigation. No more driving to the vineyard site to open and close irrigation valves, now you can turn the irrigation on/off completely automatically based on weather data and soil moisture readings or semi-automatically, as you prefer. Check low-cost vineyard precision irrigation options here.
5. Motivate workers
A very important aspect is also to keep good relationships with your workers and motivating them in these critical times. One thing is clear for workers to work well, they need to trust you and know that you will not put them in danger of any kind. You can achieve this by following the authorities’ recommendation (check point 1) and protect workers with appropriate tools (check point 2).
Another element is to motivate workers that are willing to work in these critical times and pay them fairly based on their performance. Tracking worker’s performance can be challenging when you need to keep a safe distance, but technology is here to help (check point 4). You can now track work and even calculate payments with the help of smarthphone app, and save time with data crunching. Tools, like eVineyard’s Tracking app, can help you track work and workers no matter the team size and organization of the vineyard management operations, as tracking technology can completely adapt to your work flow, work across several devices, and calculates payrolls for workers in the real-time.
Above are some tips on how to organize work in the vineyard during the virus epidemic, for the end let us share the infographic by MedicoReach on basic safety precaution to avoid a greater spread of Covid-19. STAY HEALTHY!
Featured image: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli