As you plan for re-entry…
If you lived through the trauma of 9-11, you know that the way we do some things – such as travel – changed forever. The reality of doing business post-COVID-19 will be no different, and its reach will be far more impactful.
Unlike the sudden shutdown, reopening may happen gradually and with various caveats, such as wearing masks, moving work spaces further apart and checking employee temperatures at the beginning of the work day. Regardless of what government and health guidelines require or suggest, now is the time to prepare for doing business in the new world of coronavirus, which likely will be with us for many months – or perhaps years – to come.
As you plan for re-entry, evaluate your current practices during the shutdown and consider which are applicable when you re-open. Create workflows that consider the following questions:
Questions to ask
- What changes have the virus forced upon you?
- What processes are you doing differently? Which are working? Why? Which are not working? Why not?
- How is the virus and shutdown affecting each product or service? Are there special considerations for some and not others?
- How are you communicating with employees? Is it the same? Different? Better? Worse?
- How are you keeping your team engaged and motivated?
- What is causing your and your team’s stress? How are you handling it?
- What innovations has your team developed during the crisis that could be implemented post-shutdown?
- How well have you – and team members – handled change? Have new “stars” emerged who showed greater leadership?
- Has remote working been a positive experience? Should you continue it at some level in the future
- Has providing flex-time hours been a positive experience? Should you continue it?
Working through these questions and developing new “rules” for each scenario will help you anticipate your business life in the future. Depending on the size and type of business, you may need to consider different procedures for each division, department or individual employees.
Once you have evaluated your situation and developed your plan for the various scenarios, you may want to consider reopening your business in phases on a priority basis. Here is one possible re-entry schedule:
- Phase One: Return employees onsite who aren’t able to effectively or efficiently work remotely because they don’t have all the necessary tools or need to be more closely managed.
- Phase Two: Employees working well from home are returned onsite as needed and work on a flexible schedule.
- Phase Three: Employees working extremely well at home can continue working remotely longer, or they may never need to come into the office daily.
While this unplanned shutdown has been painful and will require us to work differently, it is providing an opportunity to reassess business practices and make changes that will create a more positive company culture. With the right changes, your team can become more productive, and your business can become more profitable.