The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted business on a global scale. With numbers winding down in some regions (although still increasing in others), many people are beginning to turn their attention to the questions of “What’s next?” Unfortunately, there are no easy answers; although most people realize that this won’t be a return to normal operations – it will be a path to a new normal.
The path won’t look the same for all businesses and industries. However, some key concepts will help all businesses strategize their return to operations after stay-at-home orders and quarantines are lifted.
Start Planning Now
It’s crucial that all returns to business take into account local circumstances and regulatory guidance. While keeping these elements in mind, it’s never too early to start planning. As we saw during the onset of COVID-19, those businesses that were able to react quickly and shift strategies were better able to weather the storm. While another wave of the virus may or may not sweep through the nation this fall, it’s still a great idea to shelter your company. Consider creating policies, procedures, and business continuity plans that can address any of the potential challenges that may arise with a physical reopening and any other emerging business threats.
Prioritize Safety & Health
While the worst of COVID-19 may or may not be behind us, many experts agree that we will still be dealing with a lingering threat for some time to come. As a response to this threat, it will be increasingly imperative for employers to ensure that healthy working habits are adopted to meet the needs of any working environment. Examples can include:
- Educating employees and customers on proper hygiene and the importance of washing hands and using hand sanitizer.
- Ensuring that employees take proper leave when they are sick or are symptomatic.
- Encouraging physical distancing when possible.
- Making sure that proper PPE, including gloves and masks, are available.
- Discontinuing practices that increase transmission risks, such as sampling food.
- Prioritizing the cleaning of all working areas, including sanitizing equipment.
Meeting these needs may present additional burdens upon employers, but going through the required steps to ensure proper safety protections are in place for employees and customers is the foundation of any successful return to business. It may take a long time for many businesses to recover from the effects of the pandemic financially, but a healthy and sustainable business can only remain that way if its team also remains healthy.
Create a Team to Address the Changing Needs of Your Workforce
The needs during this period of reopening are very different from what they were at the height of the outbreak. While no crystal ball can tell us what the future will hold, we can still be certain that business and employee needs will continue to change and evolve. It will be crucial to stay on top of any changes that may impact your team and understand how you can better meet their needs so that productivity is maintained. Demonstrating responsiveness to employee needs will no longer be a trait that is ‘nice to have’ for employees. In a market where many companies are struggling, and many others have been forced to shutter their doors, employer responsiveness is essential in remaining competitive. Employers simply cannot afford to lose their best team members anymore, which means that they must look for ways to adapt and meet the needs of their employees to help them perform better in the long term.
Embrace Flexibility and Agility
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that businesses that demonstrated leadership agility and flexibility were in a much better position to adapt, make the necessary changes, and transform in ways that minimized the long-term effects on their company’s stability.
While planning for a return to business, it’s also a good time to leverage the forced change of the current environment and ‘restart’ your business. Rethink your current modes of operation, and identify areas where you could make permanent changes that result in a more agile and flexible business model. While the pandemic was a global health crisis that nobody wanted, it also presents a unique opportunity to realign your business with tomorrow’s needs and demands. This strategy can help place your business in a much better position to handle emerging market trends as well as the new normal that is beginning to appear across the nation.
CA HR Services specializes in working with small and medium-sized companies to help develop legal, efficient and appropriate HR processes and procedures that meet state and federal labor law requirements. Contact them today 858-391-6601.