Preparing for a Return to Face-To-Face Operations
Like the rest of the country, we at Steffes Group are looking forward to a return to more face-to-face contact after weeks of having many of our staff working from home. From a business standpoint, we have continued to hold auctions and get great results, because our 11 years of experience in timed online auctions enabled us to keep getting assets sold.
But some sellers really prefer a live auction, and live auctions are in our blood. So we’re eager to resume live bidding as soon as we can do so safely and in keeping with the guidance and recommendations of the states where we conduct them.
From a personal standpoint, it’s been a challenging time. Employees working from home have had child care and even home schooling responsibilities. But our folks have been able to do their jobs and keep the company hitting on all cylinders.
Even so, being physically present has its advantages.
“It’s amazing to think of the many ways we communicate when we’re together. And there’s no substitute for meeting face-to-face with buyers and sellers. But we’ve sacrificed some of that to keep everybody safe. We’ve literally had situations where a Steffes representative was standing at a distance, talking on the phone to a bidder as he inspects a piece of machinery. But as inconvenient as this has been, we’ve put the safety of our employees and customers first,” said Scott Steffes, president of the company.
“Until we have a vaccine and effective treatment, we all must remember that we still have an extremely contagious disease that has killed far too many and remains deadly. Masks and some degree of social distancing may be a part of life for a while,” he said.
Most employees who have been working from home will begin coming into the office in May. Happily, our offices lend themselves well to social distancing. But we’re being careful not to talk in terms of returning to “normal,” or to the way things were.
“We’ll undoubtedly evolve into a new normal, which may differ in many ways from what we’re accustomed to. That’s OK, because it’s how we’ve always done business -- reacting to the business environment and adapting to make the most of it,” said Scott.
We will make two commitments to our employees, sellers and bidders: (1) We will adapt to prevent close-up contact that could spread the virus; and (2) We simply will not require anyone to be in a situation they consider too risky.
“I’m eager to see everybody. We’re just committed to doing so responsibly and safely as possible,” he said.