Updated: Aug 24
COVID-19 has hit the world of business hard and differently.
For companies across different industries, it will no longer be business as usual. And as businesses around the country start reopening after weeks and months of lockdown, there will be a lot of adjusting to do to align your business operations with the new ‘normal.’ So;
What will business look like in the age of the coronavirus? and
What areas of your business will need reevaluation and adjustment in a post-COVID world of face coverings and social distancing?
These and more will be answered in this brief guide to reopening a business post-crisis.
Preparing your workplace for change
Fred Foulkes, in a publication for HR Executive, opined that current standards for social distancing and testing will play a key role as the workforce continues to return to their offices and workplaces. And this can’t be any truer.
The CDC guidelines on social distancing advise keeping no less than six feet to others and this can mean a lot for your place of work.
Will this require changing your entire business layout so there can be more spaces between workstations?
Perhaps installing physical barriers in the office will do the trick.
Or maybe even staggering shifts and breaks so there are fewer physical interactions between staff.
Solving issues in phases
For businesses reopening across the country, it will take some time for their employees and customers to get used to the new normal. All of these would seem unnatural at first but creating new social distancing rules in the workplace will be key for employees to work together safely in the workplace.
While we recommend having a comprehensive plan, you should also anticipate slippages and unforeseen occurrences. Your plans should, therefore, be as robust as possible but still flexible enough for changes and reversals. Here are a few things you might consider in this regard;
Reevaluate and align your business strategies and operations
Develop a agile and flexible model with an emphasis on business functions, HR, and other key priorities as well as emerging cross-skilling opportunities.
Give more priority to business activities and operations that fuels business growth
Maintain physical and systems security at every point of the reopening process.
Create a command center for work distribution, resource allocation, insights, and intelligence, feedback, as well as performance, compliance, quality, and productivity monitoring.
Communicate clearly to your employees and customers
Every business should have a coronavirus reopening plan.
This will contain all of your safety rules and guidelines to keep customers and employees safe in the workplace. Once you have this plan pieced together, you’ll want to communicate with both staff and customers in clear terms so everyone knows what roles they are to play in mitigating health and safety risks in the workplace. It’s also important to entertain questions and concerns from customers or employees about these plans to ensure everyone’s on the same page.
Creating an employee wellness plan
We recently published a piece on what COVID-19 has taught us about financial wellness.
However, it is critical to an employers success in the new normal to put in place an employee wellness plan as workers return back to their offices. Most organizations with employees who can work from home have been enjoined to continue doing so, for now. But if your business decides it’s time to get workers back in the office, perhaps you’ll also need an employee wellness plan put in place to maintain employee health and safety.
Such a plan should incorporate address issues such as;
Provision of face coverings or personal protective equipment for employees
Conducting temperature checks on employees, as well as customers before being allowed access to the workplace
Employer-sponsored testing for employees, in some cases
Regular wellness checks by employees via a self-reported symptoms survey, etc
Remote work should be encouraged
The emergence of the coronavirus has driven a shift towards remote working.
While many businesses and organizations have considered and achieving success with remote employees working from home, going, forward, we expect this to continue, even after we’ve gotten the virus behind us.
We echo the words of Peter Jackson on how employees can drive success in a post-COVID world that remote working should be a right, and not a privilege, going forward. A new Forrester survey also revealed that more than 40% of workers fear to return to the office amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Across the country and in other parts of the world, many non-essential businesses are getting the green light to reopen. The future of work in a post-COVID world at the moment is not completely clear. But we expect organizations to be proactive in their response to workplace health and safety. From managing employees through the crisis to boosting workplace productivity without jeopardizing employee physical and emotional wellness, managers have a lot on their hands to ensure business continuity along with driving steady growth and topline business results.