We’re living in new times among new challenges. For business leaders, we have many things to focus on; however, one thing will remain the same. That is the commitment to people, continuity and improvement.Here are few key considerations that business leaders should be thinking about as you plan to return back to the office:
Take a continuous assessment and inventory of your employees’ well-being
Your employees are your most valuable resource and it is critical for members of your company to stay in communication with one another and focus on the community that exists within your organization. In these unprecedented times, maintaining engagement and an understanding of people as individuals will ensure all members of your community remain engaged and motivated.
A few ways to do this are to encourage managers to hold regular one on one meetings or simple conversations with their teams and staff members. This applies to all business types including offices, restaurants, small businesses, non-profit organizations, etc. People must feel engaged and feedback from all levels must be heard and recognized. We all need to realize how deeply an individual's lifestyle and personality may have been impacted by the crisis. Humility among all people should be encouraged to foster a sense of understanding of one another and their struggles.
This is a crucial point for business leaders to monitor and keep a pulse on company morale, and advise them on what reopening may look like for their organization amid personal changes, and be informed on how to address concerns related to timing, and what new individual needs may have arisen.
Although a company may be ready to re-open their spaces at a certain point in time, not all employees will feel immediately comfortable. That is absolutely OK. The wishes of employees must be respected and honest, upfront conversations must be had. For example, if a particular employee feels that more time working from home is in their best interest for an extra two-three weeks; respect it and offer your understanding and allow them to do so. Expectations should be set on their timing, and employees should be made confident that they can express their wishes frankly so that an agreement can be reached.
Think about your place of work’s reopening preparedness as well. This is as simple as making sure your facility is well stocked with sanitization supplies, masks, and other items to immediately respond to incoming threats of infection. This will put your employees’ minds at ease and make them feel comfortable when they arrive back on the job.
Consider your short-term cash flow losses
The economic environment in recovery from a crisis must be understood to account for a change in previous forecasting and projections. Even when we all get back to work, the economic repercussions from a depression caused by COVID-19 will have a ripple effect on revenue. Customers may not come back as quickly as expected, clients may be slow to return to you as they’re struggling through their own lost cash flow, and businesses should be prepared to think about their short term revenue goals at least three months out from their reopening date and be prepared to see slow growth back towards previously expected numbers. It’s great to hope for the best; but moreover, to expect and prepare for the worst.
Be on top of changes in policy
Numerous changes have already occurred with tax and trade laws and compliance regulations. Immediately, businesses should be contacting their accountants and advisors to ensure these adjustments are understood. Overlooking these policy factors in play can affect your benefits from stimulus plans in place - or upcoming - and may even result in further losses down the road due to a lack of compliance. It’s time to trust these experts and make sure you understand what needs to be done, and remember that legislation will remain fluid. It’s paramount to be aware of this and where you stand at all times.
Be mindful of your supply chain
Especially for businesses that rely on incoming products, they may not be as quickly available as you’d expect. Suppliers are suffering too and some may not be ready to ramp back up so quickly. Let this inform your planning and forecasting and always give your support to them when possible.
Re-visit your company’s crisis and continuity plans
As your business progresses through these times, although we all sincerely hope a situation like this doesn’t arise again anytime soon, it's important to take inventory on what has and hasn’t worked. This is a time for reflection to analyze for example; how management has responded, what technological issues with remote work may have occurred, or if there was even a well thought out plan in place to begin with. Assess - if this were to happen again: what would make the process go more smoothly next time?
We hope these tips are helpful to you. Please feel free to drop any comments below and let us know your thoughts and how you’re getting ready to get back to work (when the time is right!)