2020 has held many unexpected challenges along with a wealth of opportunities for collaboration and adaptation in the modern business arena. If there’s one lesson the evolving year has for trend savvy business owners, it’s that today’s workplace is ready for anything. Gone are the days of the traditional 9 to 5. A dynamic, fluid model sets the standard for the future with everyone’s focus on a successful reopening. Consider these key tips on how to prepare your business for the end of lockdown.
Devise a Plan
The current health crisis means exercising strategic flexibility as circumstances may change from day to day. Many businesses aren’t rolling out the reopening balloons just yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start moving towards a normal work week. A staggered schedule is the perfect next step for returning companies.
Consider which roles necessitate an office presence. These positions should be marked as priority for a gradual reopening. Operating at half capacity or rotating shifts throughout the day is an excellent tool for encouraging social distancing and minimizing a crowded workspace.
Discuss any safety concerns with your key workers and be prepared to accommodate any health or scheduling related anxieties for vulnerable staff. Remember, some of your best teammates may still be playing part-time teacher to their children as well as full time executives! Phasing into a reopening as well as maintaining clear lines of communication with employees, vendors, and clients will ensure everyone knows what to expect by the time the red ribbon is cut and the doors are open on Monday morning.
Be Proactive in Prevention
The best way to ensure a successful reopen and mitigate the chance of future closures is to support your team’s health and wellbeing. It’s a great idea to invest in essential PPE such as masks, hand sanitizer, and plexiglass dividers. Arrange office spaces accordingly, allowing for 6-feet of distance between work stations. They may mean utilizing non-traditional spaces such as conference and break rooms as open workspaces for ongoing collaboration.
Consider implementing varying hours to avoid the 8 a.m. rush or having multiple side doors for entry and exit. Now that travel has resumed (and many of our stressed out parents are in need of a vacation), clearly communicate protocol for out of state excursions such as mandatory 14-day remote work or wearing masks following any long distance travel. Use signage on sinks to remind everyone of the power of hand washing and don’t be afraid to invite your employees to collaborate on ways we as a team can make the office a cleaner, safer environment. Re-engaging your staff is a vital part of the reopening process and a great way to ensure your team feels that their feedback is valuable and timely.
Clients, Vendors, and Training for What’s Ahead
With a staff schedule finalized, the next priority is to alert key contacts of the reopening as well as any potential changes to normal business hours. For vendors, ensure department managers are equipped to communicate their needs and work alongside supplier availability. Many vendors will also be operating under reduced hours so it’s important to schedule deliveries well in advance in order to accommodate any hard and fast deadlines.
Once the technical details have been worked out, it’s time to tell clients that you’re back in business. Remember to keep the tone of all communications positive and encouraging while maintaining a sense of reliability in the midst of COVID-19. Clearly announce any limited hours, state whether masks will be required, and what (if any) services have not yet resumed. Advanced appointment booking and contactless payment are excellent tools for making everyone feel safe while returning to normal. Be sure to spread the message on all digital communications platforms, using email, SEO, and blog announcements to get the word out.
Last but not least, don’t slack on training due to the current health crisis. Technology is more important now than ever for keeping us connected and delivering efficient products and services. Hackers and cyber criminals are quick to take advantage of the growing number of remote workers. Every staff member plays a significant role in ensuring data and confidential information is protected.
Schedule a virtual meeting to discuss common phishing schemes, particularly those centered around COVID-19 and other recent scams to be aware of, and take a moment to review firewalls and system integrity. Your IT team has you covered as you begin the next phase of your company’s future.