Everything is going to be different.
Your offices, your desks, your watercooler talks, your after office chills. Everything.
Re-opening offices isn’t going to be smooth. Businesses with a more humane approach will win and not the ones focusing on performances. People will be more compassionate and concerned about each other. Priorities are going to change.
It's important that we build guidelines and set up protocols that can aid employees when they re-join the workspace. Almost all of us have come to terms with the fact that working from home is the new reality. The indicator of our success or failure would have less to do with a company opening its doors and more about how people deal with the circumstances.
As companies continue to re-open, a great deal of attention is being paid to the steps required to keep staff and consumers safe. These steps are basic behaviors: washing faces, hands, wearing masks, using sanitizers, etc. Yet such steps do not work until they are followed by everyone. It is more than important to understand the current situation; create and maintain habits as per the surrounding. We need to evolve with the new set of norms/standards of hygiene. Because at the end of the day, the speed at which the standards shift is what we call the new normal. If non-compliance is not addressed, healthy behavior becomes a cause of concern, not only does this cause an issue for the workforce, but also to the society at large.
This global pandemic has changed and will change the world economy. It has caused some serious effects on us, the businesses, the international trades, everything. We have an economy, impaired by a virus and this has resulted in a crisis. Since the rules for lockdown have finally been relaxed, companies have started pushing forward their operations again.
The challenge is to avoid the uncertainties and keep moving forward during these unprecedented times. Reopening, however, will involve more than a return to the normal, as the uncertain and long-lasting period after this pandemic would entail profound changes in economic growth, fast-changing societal expectations, social beliefs, and actions.
(Re)Opening: A New Beginning
What measures can you take to safeguard your employees?
- Ensure only 25 or 50% of the workspace is occupied and develop seating plans following the social distancing protocols defined by your local government.
- Regulate policies regarding building cleanliness and safety. Consider hands-free alternatives to high-touch areas, such as revolving doors, taps, knobs, light switches and other plumbing fixtures.
- Consider rearranging employee shifts and breaks.
- Install plexiglass or other solid screens particularly for employers with open concept office plans where they sit in close proximity to one another.
- Be compassionate.
Given the circumstances, business leaders must have their priorities set:
Companies need to keep up with disruptive and sudden changes in the market. Businesses need to be prepared with all the necessary steps, given the range of potential scenarios. Any steps that are taken to reopen must be easily reversible and scalable.
Build trust and provide a secure working environment to your employees, make them feel safe and try to be as transparent as possible about company policies.
Build a better future
Businesses must not be reopened by going back to old ways. The re-opening is a chance to build a sustainable life for workers and consumers.
This is an opportunity for you and other businesses to develop the expertise they wish they had invested in before: more modern, digital, data-driven; more flexible cost structures, scalable processes and automation; and better e-commerce and security capabilities. This process is going to help businesses plan for long-term actions. For leaders like you, your planning and execution will matter and can bring you to a path of a wider transformation.